The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in ARMD
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are critical in the active regulation of the extracellular matrix. There are at least 10 different types of these digestive proteins. They are produced in an inactive form by RPE cells, and can be activated by various stimuli. At least two specific MMPs, MMP-2 and MMP-9, are found in the Bruch's membrane and they accumulate with age. This enzyme-based remodeling system suggests that it may be possible to enhance the transport characteristics of Bruch's membrane by turning on the tissue's own rejuvenation system. Dr. Kaushal seeks to understand how the active forms of MMP-2 and 9 can alter the structure and function of Bruch's membrane as the eyes age. He will also study methods for the activation of these MMPs to determine if the aging process can be offset by the eye's ability to repair itself.