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Expression and distribution of matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in the human iris and ciliary body
  1. J Lan,
  2. RK Kumar,
  3. N Di Girolamo,
  4. P McCluskey,
  5. D Wakefield
  1. The Inflammation Research Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Department of Pathology, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Denis Wakefield, Department of Pathology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia; d.wakefield{at}


Aim: To determine the expression and distribution of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs) in the normal human iris and ciliary body.

Methods: Seven postmortem human eyes were fixed with formalin. The iris and ciliary body were dissected out and embedded in paraffin. The expression of MMPs -1, 2, 3, and 9, and TIMPs 1–4 in the iris and ciliary body was determined by a novel immunofluorescence technique and the results graded by masked observers.

Results: Positive staining for MMPs and TIMPs was observed in all regions of the anterior uvea, and was more intense in the ciliary body than in the iris. Most MMPs and TIMPs showed similar patterns in their distribution. In the ciliary body, staining was strongest in the epithelium, and was localised to the epithelial cell cytoplasm, except for TIMP-3 which was strongly expressed in the basement membranes. In the iris, staining was most noticeable in the anterior border and anterior epithelial layer. Blood vessels in the stroma of the iris and ciliary body also stained moderately for MMPs and TIMPs.

Conclusion: Both MMPs and TIMPs are widely expressed in the anterior uvea, with a positive correlation between their expressions. Their differential localisation in the ciliary body suggests they may have a role in maintaining homeostasis in the uveal tract.

  • matrix metalloproteinases
  • TIMPs
  • anterior uvea
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