Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-3 is a component of Bruch's membrane of the eye

Am J Pathol. 1997 Jan;150(1):323-8.


Mutations in tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-3 are found in some patients with Sorsby's fundus dystrophy, a retinal degeneration characterized by abnormal deposits in Bruch's membrane and choroidal neovascularization. The purpose of this study was to localize TIMP-3 in the retina/choroid of normal human and animal eyes. Immunolabeling was performed on unfixed and fixed sections of human eyes aged 24 to 85 years and unfixed sections of baboon, chicken, cow, pig, and rat eyes using a monoclonal antibody against a human TIMP-3 synthetic peptide. The antibody produced strong immunolabeling of Bruch's membrane and drusen and weak labeling of retina blood vessels in unfixed human and baboon eyes. Unfixed chicken, cow, pig, and rat tissues showed no reactivity. After antigen retrieval, all fixed human eyes showed specific labeling of Bruch's membrane and drusen, which was strongest in eyes from elderly donors. The results indicate that TIMP-3 is an extracellular matrix component of Bruch's membrane. Thus, abnormal local function of TIMP-3 may lead to the characteristic Bruch's membrane deposits and choroidal neovascularization found in Sorsby's fundus dystrophy. Specific labeling of drusen raises the possibility that altered TIMP-3-mediated matrix remodeling may contribute to age-related degenerative changes in Bruch's membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bruch Membrane / enzymology*
  • Bruch Membrane / immunology
  • Extracellular Matrix / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protease Inhibitors / analysis*
  • Protease Inhibitors / immunology
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-3


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Proteins
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-3