Effect of fluoroquinolones on the expression of matrix metalloproteinase in debrided cornea of rats

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2011 Jan;21(1):6-12. doi: 10.3109/15376516.2010.529183. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are implicated in regenerative and healing processes in corneal injuries. Based upon reports that topical fluoroquinolones (FQs) may cause perforations during corneal healing by modulating MMPs, this study evaluated the comparative effects of commercially available FQs eye drops on the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in the cornea after ethanol injury. Uniform corneal epithelial defects were created using 70% ethanol in the right eye of the rats (n = 6). The groups studied were (I) sham, (II) normal saline with benzalkonium chloride (NS-BKC), (III) norfloxacin 0.3%, (IV) ciprofloxacin 0.3%, (V) lomefloxacin 0.3%, (VI) sparfloxacin 0.3%, (VII) gatifloxacin 0.3%, and (VIII) moxifloxacin 0.5%. Each treatment was instilled six times/day up to 48 h and rats were sacrificed using excess of anesthesia. The corneas were excised to study the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 using gelatin zymography and real-time PCR. All the FQs significantly increased the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 as compared to the sham and NS-BKC-treated group. NS-BKC did not show a significant effect on MMPs expression compared to the sham group. Among the studied FQs, ciprofloxacin was observed to exhibit maximal induction of MMP-2 and MMP-9, whereas lomefloxacin exhibited an equivocal effect on both MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression. Findings of the present study demonstrate that topical application of FQs may induce the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in debrided corneal epithelium and, therefore, may delay corneal wound healing. Thus, it can be concluded that selecting a FQ for ophthalmic use having minimal effect on MMPs may impact wound healing in injured or vulnerable cornea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / enzymology*
  • Fluoroquinolones / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Culture Techniques


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9