Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the endogenous regulation pattern of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) in the tree shrew sclera during myopia development and investigate the capacity of exogenous TIMP-2 to inhibit matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in vitro and both scleral collagen degradation and myopia development in vivo.
Methods: TIMP-2 expression in the sclera during myopia development was assessed using polymerase chain reaction. In vitro TIMP-2 inhibition of MMP-2 was investigated using a gelatinase activity plate assay and zymography. Tree shrews were injected with a collagen precursor before undergoing monocular form deprivation and concurrent daily subconjunctival injections of either TIMP-2 or vehicle to the form-deprived eye. In vivo ocular biometry changes were monitored, and scleral tissue was collected after 12 days and assayed for collagen degradation.
Results: The development of myopia was associated with a mean reduction in TIMP-2 mRNA expression after 5 days of form deprivation (P < 0.01). Both activation and activity of MMP-2 were inhibited by TIMP-2 with an IC50 of 10 to 20 and 2 nM, respectively. In vivo exogenous addition of TIMP-2 significantly reduced myopia development (P < 0.01), due to reduced vitreous chamber elongation (P < 0.01). In vivo TIMP-2 treatment also significantly inhibited posterior scleral collagen degradation relative to vehicle-treated eyes (P < 0.01), with levels similar to those in control eyes.
Conclusions: Myopia development in mammals is associated with reduced expression of TIMP-2, which contributes to increased degradative activity in the sclera. It follows that replenishment of this TIMP-2 significantly reduced the rate of both scleral collagen degradation and myopia development.