Mol Vis 2006 Jan 23;12:55-64. Epub 2006 Jan 23.
National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Purpose: Pterygium is a sunlight-related, ocular-surface lesion that can obscure vision. In order to identify specific genes that may play a role in pterygium pathogenesis, we analyzed the global gene expression profile of pterygium in relation to autologous conjunctiva.
Methods: Oligonucleotide microarray hybridization was used to compare the gene expression profile between human whole pterygium and autologous conjunctiva. Selected genes were further characterized by RT-PCR, western blot, and immunohistochemistry, and comparisons were made with limbal and corneal tissues.
Results: Thirty-four genes exhibited a 2 fold or greater difference in expression between human whole pterygium and autologous conjunctiva. Twenty-nine transcripts were increased and five transcripts were decreased in pterygium. Fibronectin, macrophage-inflammatory protein-4 (MIP-4), and lipocalin 2 (oncogene 24p3; NGAL) were increased 9, 5, and 2.4 fold, respectively, while Per1 and Ephrin-A1 were decreased 2 fold in pterygium. Western blots showed that fibronectin and MIP-4 were increased in pterygium compared to limbus, cornea, and conjunctiva. Immunohistochemical analysis showed fibronectin in the stroma; lipocalin 2 in the basal epithelial cells, basement membrane, and extracellular stroma; and MIP-4 in all areas of the pterygium.
Conclusions: These data show both novel and previously identified extracellular-matrix-related, proinflammatory, angiogenic, fibrogenic, and oncogenic genes expressed in human pterygium. Comparisons of selected genes with limbal and corneal tissues gave results similar to comparisons between pterygium and normal conjunctiva. The increased expression of lipocalin 2, which activates matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), is consistent with our previous findings that MMP-9 and other MMPs are highly expressed in pterygium basal epithelium.
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