The involvement of matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 in rat retinal ischemia

Nurit Mathalone, Nitza Lahat, Michal A. Rahat, Keren Bahar-Shany, Yoram Oron, Orna Geyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The involvement of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in ischemic tissue damage and remodeling has been reported by many investigators. Our study was designed to investigate the involvement of MMPs and of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in rat retinal ischemic injury, the effect of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors on MMPs' activity in this model and whether minocycline (an MMP inhibitor) is protective in retinal ischemia. Methods: Ninety-four rats were used in the study. Ischemia was induced by 90 min elevation of intraocular pressure. MMPs' activities and the effect of NOS inhibitors [aminoguanidine (AG) or N-nitro-L-arginine (NNA)] and minocycline on MMPs' activities were assessed by zymography and TIMPs expression by Western analysis. Morphological damage was quantified by morphometry of hematoxylin and eosin-stained retinal sections. Results: Retinal extracts exhibited activities of proMMP-9 and proMMP-2. The activity of proMMP-9 increased immediately post ischemia (PI) and peaked to 4.6 times that of normal untreated controls in ischemic retinas and to 2.6 times that of controls in retinas of fellow sham-treated eyes at 24 h PI. The relative amount of TIMP-1 increased to 1.9-fold following ischemia and 2.5-fold in fellow sham-treated eyes at 24 h PI. ProMMP-2 activity increased more than two-fold immediately, at 24 h and at 48 h PI in ischemic retinas, and insignificantly in fellow sham-treated eyes. Treatment with 25 mg/kg AG or NNA caused a non-significant increase in proMMP-9 activity at 24 h PI (3.7- and 2.9-fold, respectively, p > 0.6). There was no effect of AG or NNA on the activity of proMMP-2. Minocycline significantly attenuated the retinal ischemic damage, primarily by partially preserving ganglion cells and the inner plexiform layer. Minocyline (0.5 mg/ml or 5 mg/ml) inhibited MMPs' activities in ischemic retinal extracts in vitro. Conclusions: MMPs participated in morphological ischemic damage to rat retina. Treatment with minocycline dramatically attenuated damage to the retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-732
Number of pages8
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Ischemia
  • MMPs
  • Retina


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