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M. Cristina Kenney, Marilyn Chwa, Shari R. Atilano, Annie Tran, Marilee Carballo, Mehrnoosh Saghizadeh, Vasilis Vasiliou, Wakako Adachi, Donald J. Brown; Increased Levels of Catalase and Cathepsin V/L2 but Decreased TIMP-1 in Keratoconus Corneas: Evidence that Oxidative Stress Plays a Role in This Disorder. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(3):823-832. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0549.
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purpose. The mRNA levels of antioxidant enzymes, matrix metalloproteinases, cathepsin V/L2, and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs) were determined in keratoconus and normal corneas. Protein levels or enzyme activities were analyzed when RNA levels were different.
methods. A total of 25 physiologic (normal) and 32 keratoconus corneas were studied. mRNAs were analyzed by semiquantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot analysis. Proteins were assessed by immunohistochemistry and/or Western blot analysis. Catalase activity was measured in corneal extracts. Antioxidant enzymes examined were catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD)-1, SOD3, glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase and aldehyde dehydrogenase 3A1. Degradative enzymes examined were cathepsin V/L2 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, -2, -7, -9, and -14. Tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, -2, and -3 were also examined.
results. Keratoconus corneas exhibited a 2.2-fold increase of catalase mRNA level (P < 0.01) and 1.8-fold of enzyme activity (P < 0.03); a 1.5-fold increase of cathepsin V/L2 mRNA (P < 0.03) and abnormal protein distribution; and a 1.8-fold decrease of TIMP-1 mRNA (P < 0.05) and 2.8-fold decrease of protein (P < 0.0001) compared with normal (physiologic) corneas. RNA levels for other antioxidant and degradative enzymes were similar between normal and keratoconus corneas.
conclusions. Keratoconus corneas have elevated levels of cathepsins V/L2, -B, and -G, which can stimulate hydrogen peroxide production, which, in turn, can upregulate catalase, an antioxidant enzyme. In addition, decreased TIMP-1 and increased cathepsin V/L2 levels may play a role in the matrix degradation that is a hallmark of keratoconus corneas. The findings support the hypothesis that keratoconus corneas undergo oxidative stress and tissue degradation.
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