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Prognostic significance of matrix metalloproteinase 9 in COMET operated chronic ocular Stevens-Johnson syndrome


Purpose Molecular pathogenesis underlying persistent ocular surface inflammation in chronic Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) still remains largely unexplored. The present study investigates the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), MMP3, MMP9, MMP11 and TIMP1 (tissue inhibittor of matrix metalloproteinase 1) in pannus tissues of chronic ocular SJS undergoing cultivated oral mucosal epithelial transplantation (COMET) and their prognostic relevance.

Methods In this prospective study, 45 eyes with chronic SJS underwent COMET for visual and anatomical rehabilitation. Preoperative and postoperative clinical parameters were documented. MMP2, MMP3, MMP9, MMP11 and TIMP1 expression were assessed using immunohistochemistry and quantitative real time PCR. Inflammadry MMP9 assay was performed at 1-year follow-up. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard models were used to correlate protein expression with clinicopathological parameters and COMET graft survival outcomes.

Results MMP9 and MMP11 positivity was seen in both pannus epithelia (48% and 55%, respectively) and in stromal layer (57% and 33%, respectively) while MMP2 and MMP3 showed only pannus epithelial positivity in 35% and 51% cases, respectively. High MMP9 stromal expression was significantly associated with preoperative corneal keratinisation (p=0.011), conjunctival hyperaemia (p=0.014), symblepharon (p=0.028). High MMP9 and MMP3 epithelial expression were found to be independent risk factors for poor best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) outcomes post-COMET (p=0.022 and p=0.048). Multivariate analysis revealed MMP9 to be the best prognostic marker (p=0.050).

Conclusion Our findings suggest that differential expression of MMPs and TIMP1 is seen in SJS in chronic stage. Emergence of MMP9 as a poor prognostic predictor of BCVA post COMET and postoperative MMP9 immunoassay positivity could be a useful tool in further studies to understand the unresolved ocular surface inflammation seen in SJS.

  • ocular surface
  • pathology
  • tears

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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