Aim: To evaluate expression of proangiogenic matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) 2 and 9 at distinct intervals after verteporfin photodynamic therapy (PDT) in human choroidal neovascular membranes (CNV) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Methods: Retrospective review of an interventional case series of 49 patients who underwent removal of CNV. Twenty-six patients were treated with PDT 3 to 383 days prior to surgery. Twenty-three CNV without previous treatment were used as controls. CNV were stained for CD34, cytokeratin 18, endostatin, MMP-2 and MMP-9 by immunohistochemistry.
Results: CNV without previous therapy disclosed MMP-2, MMP-9 in RPE–Bruch’s membrane, vessels and stroma in different intensities. Three days after PDT, MMP-9 expression was significantly weaker in stroma (p = 0.0019). Endostatin was significantly reduced in vessels (p<0.001). At longer post-PDT intervals, a significant increase of MMP-9 in stroma (p = 0.037) and of endostatin in RPE–Bruch’s membrane (p = 0.02), vessels (p = 0.005) and stroma (p<0.001) were disclosed. No significant changes in MMP-2 expression were detected.
Conclusions: PDT induced an early, temporary decrease in MMP-9 and endostatin expression. At longer intervals, MMP-9 increase is possibly associated with the angiogenic process responsible for recurrence after PDT. MMP-9, however, acts as a double-edged sword by concomitant induction of endostatin, an endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis.
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Funding: This work was supported by grants from the Vision 100 Foundation and Jung Foundation.
Competing interests: None.
age-related macular degeneration
choroidal neovascular membranes
pigment epithelium-derived factor
vascular endothelial growth factor