Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors suppress transforming growth factor-beta-induced subcapsular cataract formation.

Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, HSC 1R10, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8N3Z5.
American Journal Of Pathology (Impact Factor: 4.6). 02/2006; 168(1):69-79. DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2006.041089
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The pleotropic morphogen transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) plays an important role in the development of fibrotic pathologies, including anterior subcapsular cataracts (ASCs). ASC formation involves increased proliferation and transition of lens epithelial cells into myofibroblasts, through epithelial-mesenchymal transformation that results in opaque plaques beneath the lens capsule. In this study, we used a previously established TGFbeta-induced rat cataract model to explore the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in ASC formation. Treatment of excised rat lenses with TGFbeta resulted in enhanced secretion of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Importantly, co-treatment with two different MMP inhibitors (MMPIs), the broad spectrum inhibitor GM6001 and an MMP-2/9-specific inhibitor, suppressed TGFbeta-induced ASC changes, including the epithelial-mesenchymal transformation of lens epithelial cells. Using an anti-E-cadherin antibody, we revealed that conditioned media from lenses treated with TGFbeta contained a 72-kd E-cadherin fragment, indicative of E-cadherin shedding. This was accompanied by attenuated levels of E-cadherin mRNA. Conditioned media from lenses co-treated with TGFbeta and MMPIs exhibited attenuated levels of the E-cadherin fragment compared with those from TGFbeta-treated lenses. Together, these findings demonstrate that TGFbeta-induced E-cadherin shedding in the lens is mediated by MMPs and that suppression of this phenomenon might explain the mechanism by which MMPIs inhibit ASC plaque formation.

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    ABSTRACT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is associated with fibrotic diseases in the lens, such as anterior subcapsular cataract (ASC) formation. Often mediated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, EMT in the lens involves the transformation of lens epithelial cells into a multilayering of myofibroblasts, which manifest as plaques beneath the lens capsule. TGF-β-induced EMT and ASC have been associated with the up-regulation of two matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): MMP-2 and MMP-9. The current study used MMP-2 and MMP-9 knockout (KO) mice to further determine their unique roles in TGF-β-induced ASC formation. Adenoviral injection of active TGF-β1 into the anterior chamber of all wild-type and MMP-2 KO mice led to the formation of distinct ASC plaques that were positive for α-smooth muscle actin, a marker of EMT. In contrast, only a small proportion of the MMP-9 KO eyes injected with adenovirus-expressing TGF-β1 exhibited ASC plaques. Isolated lens epithelial explants from wild-type and MMP-2 KO mice that were treated with TGF-β exhibited features indicative of EMT, whereas those from MMP-9 KO mice did not acquire a mesenchymal phenotype. MMP-9 KO mice were further bred onto a TGF-β1 transgenic mouse line that exhibits severe ASC formation and resistance to ASC formation in this model. These findings suggest that MMP-9 expression is more critical than MMP-2 in mediating TGF-β-induced ASC formation.
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