Investigation of Glutathione S-Transferase Isoenzyme Protein Expression in Patients With Pterygium

Cornea. 2016 Aug;35(8):1089-92. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000827.


Purpose: We investigated glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes in terms of their potential effects on the pathogenesis of pterygium.

Methods: Twenty-six pterygium specimens and 15 normal conjunctival specimens of 15 control subjects were investigated. Expressions of GST (alpha, mu, pi, and theta) enzymes were assessed by immunohistochemical staining. A brown color in the cytoplasm and/or nuclei of epithelial cells was evaluated as positive staining for GST enzymes. For each antibody, the intensity of the reaction [negative (-), weak (1+), moderate (2+), or strong (3+)] was determined to describe the immunoreactions.

Results: The median age was 52 years in the both groups. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of age, sex, and intraocular pressure measurements (P > 0.05 for all). Of the 26 pterygium specimens, 15 (57.7%) (8 weak, 4 moderate, and 3 strong staining) were identified with GST pi-1 (GSTP1) expression and 20 (76.9%) (12 weak, 7 moderate, and 1 strong staining) with GST theta-1 (GSTT1) expression. Of the 15 control specimens, 4 (26.7%) (4 weak staining) were identified with the GSTP1 expression, and 1 (6.7%) with GSTT1 expression. GSTP1 and GSTT1 expressions were significantly higher in the pterygium specimens than in the controls (P = 0.043, P < 0.001; respectively). None of tissue specimens had positive staining for GST mu-1 or GST alpha-1 in both groups (both; P = 1.00).

Conclusions: The significant increase of GSTP1 and GSTT1 expressions in pterygium may be because of the increased activation of GST in response to excessive free radical formation from ultraviolet exposure to maintain antioxidant capacity in pterygium.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Conjunctiva / enzymology
  • Female
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pterygium / enzymology*
  • Pterygium / surgery


  • Isoenzymes
  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • GSTP1 protein, human
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase M1
  • glutathione S-transferase alpha