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M. F. Chan, Z. Werb; Corneal Development and Epithelial Wound Healing in Matrix Metalloproteinase 12-Deficient Mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):6311.
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Members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family are able to breakdown the extracellular matrix (ECM) and consequently play a significant role in tissue remodeling processes. The finding that macrophage elastase (MMP-12) expression is rapidly induced in the peripheral epithelium of wounded corneas led us to investigate the role of this protease in corneal wound healing. We employed MMP-12 deficient mice to elucidate the function of MMP12 in corneal development and epithelial wound healing.
MMP12-/- mice in an FVB genetic background were used, and wild-type littermates served as controls. Corneal epithelial wounds were made using an algerbrush and the healing process was followed at different time points up to 8 hours. A scratch assay performed on primary epithelial cells generated from wild-type and MMP12-/- mice was used to evaluate epithelial migration rate after wounding.
Histologic comparison of non-injured corneas from MMP-12 deficient mice and wild-type mice showed no differences. The efficiency of corneal re-epithelialization and epithelial migration following wounding was similar between MMP-12 deficient and wild-type mice as well.
Our results suggest that corneal development and features of corneal wound repair including epithelial cell migration appear to be independent of MMP-12. Because of its rapid expression in wounded corneas, further study is needed to determine if MMP-12 has a functional role in other aspects of the corneal wound healing process such as inflammation and angiogenesis.
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