Matrix metalloproteinase gelatinase B (MMP-9) is associated with leaking glaucoma filtering blebs

Shravan K. Chintala, Nan Wang, Shiri Diskin, Cynthia Mattox, Larry Kagemann, M. Elizabeth Fini, Joel S. Schuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of glaucoma filtering surgery is to create a low resistance pathway for aqueous outflow. The result is a blister or 'bleb' on the conjunctiva, from which fluid drains into the vasculature. Filtering surgery results may be compromised if blebs develop leaks, a problem that surfaces more frequently when antimetabolites are used to control the wound healing response. We investigated the role of tissue remodelling enzymes of the Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family in the development of bleb leaks. Our design was a case series. We enrolled glaucoma patients with leaking blebs, glaucoma patients with overhanging blebs and normal eyes. Leaking bleb tissues (n=11) and bleb leak fluid were collected from patients undergoing bleb revision surgery. Overhanging bleb tissues (from non-leaking blebs, n=3), normal conjunctiva (n=8), and aqueous humour (n=4) were collected for comparison. Samples were analysed for MMP content and proteinase activity by the methods of zymography, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and in situ zymography. Our main outcome measures were presence and activity of MMP in sample. Zymography revealed the presence of a high molecular weight caseinase and a 92-kDa gelatinase of a size appropriate for the proenzyme form of gelatinase B (gelB; MMP-9), in extracts from leaking bleb tissue, but not in bleb leak fluid or aqueous humour samples. In contrast, a 65-kDa gelatinase of a size appropriate for gelatinase A (MMP-2) proenzyme was observed in all samples. All proteinases disappeared when 10 mm EDTA was added to the development buffer, consistent with their identity as MMPs. Western blotting and immunohistochemical analyses confirmed the identity of the 92 kDa proteinase as gelB, and further revealed its absence from extracts of overhanging bleb tissue and normal conjunctiva. In situ zymography demonstrated strong gelatinolytic activity in leaking bleb tissue, but not overhanging bleb tissue or normal conjunctiva. MMP-g may be involved in the mechanism of formation of bleb leaks. Precise description of the cascade of events leading to bleb leakage may allow the design of therapeutic interventions to prevent, stabilize or reverse bleb leakage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Bleb
  • Bleb leak
  • Filtering surgery
  • Gelatinase B
  • Glaucoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Tetracycline
  • Trabeculectomy
  • Western blot
  • Zymography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Matrix metalloproteinase gelatinase B (MMP-9) is associated with leaking glaucoma filtering blebs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this