Purpose: To investigate the protein and mRNA expressions of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), gelatinolytic activity and localization of MMP activity in wounds after glaucoma filtration surgery in rabbits. Methods: Sixty eyes of 30 rabbits were removed 1, 3, 7, 14 and 120 days after the surgery and used for this experiment. Protein and mRNA expressions were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and laser capture microdissection/real-time RT-PCR, respectively. The gelatinolytic activity was analyzed by gelatin zymography and the localization was studied using in situ zymography. Results: By immunohistochemistry, expression of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-9 and MT1-MMP was detected in the wounds, most markedly 3 days after the surgery. MMP-positive cells were predominantly macrophages. Expression of MMP-9 and MT1-MMP mRNAs was verified by RT-PCR. Gelatinolytic activities corresponding to proMMP-2 and the active form of MMP-2 were detected in the wounds 3 and 7 days after surgery. In situ zymography localized gelatinolytic activities at the wound site. These activities were almost completely abolished by an MMP inhibitor, indicating that the gelatinolytic activity belongs to metalloproteinases. Conclusions: MMPs, particularly MMP-2/MT1-MMP, play important roles in the degradation of the extracellular matrix in the wound healing process after glaucoma filtration surgery and may represent an important target for therapeutic intervention after glaucoma filtration surgery.

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