Expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-12 by myofibroblasts during alkali-burned corneal wound healing

Curr Eye Res. 2009 Mar;34(3):207-14. doi: 10.1080/02713680802687809.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the expression of MMP-12 by myofibroblasts during the healing of alkali-burned rabbit corneas (ARC), thus implicating its role in ECM remodeling.

Methods: Rabbit corneas during alkali burn were examined for MMP-12 mRNA expression by RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the presence of alpha-SMA, MMP-12 protein, and macrophages. In situ hybridization was performed to identify MMP-12 mRNA expressing cells.

Results: RT-PCR showed that MMP-12 mRNA was expressed in the alkali-burned corneas from one week after the injury. Immunohistochemistry showed myofibroblasts positive for MMP-12 expression. In situ hybridization revealed that MMP-12 mRNA was expressed by myofibroblasts.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that, in alkali-burned corneas, myofibroblasts express both MMP-12 mRNA and protein. We suggest that MMP-12 may disintegrate some components of the ECM released after severe alkali burn, which may be involved in the ECM remodeling.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Burns, Chemical / genetics*
  • Burns, Chemical / metabolism
  • Cornea / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Eye Burns / chemically induced*
  • Eye Burns / genetics
  • Eye Burns / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / physiology*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 12 / genetics*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 12 / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Actins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 12