Involvement of protein kinase C in TNFα regulation of trabecular matrix metalloproteinases and TIMPs

J. P. Alexander, T. S. Acott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. The cytokine TNFα is a strong modulator of trabecular meshwork (TM) matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and tissue inhibitor (TIMP) expression. Studies were conducted to identify signal-transduction pathways involved. METHODS. Porcine TM cells were treated with TNFα, and MMP and TIMP levels were evaluated by zymography and Western immunoblot. Inhibitors and activators of several signal-transduction pathways were used to select pathways that could be involved. Trabecular protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms were identified and localized by using Western immunoblots and confocal immunohistochemistry. Changes in subcellular distribution of PKC isoforms were evaluated. PKC isoform down-regulation and additional inhibition profiles were used to refine the involvement pattern of different isoforms. RESULTS. TNFα treatment increased MMP-1, -3, and -9 and TIMP-1 expression, whereas MMP-2 expression was not affected and TIMP-2 expression decreased. Agents that modulate protein kinase A (PKA) or inhibit phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) had minimal effects on trabecular MMP or TIMP induction by TNFα, whereas several agents that modulate PKC activity were effective. Trabecular cells expressed several PKC isoforms, which exhibited distinctive subcellular localization. TNFα treatment triggered some PKC isoform translocations. Exposure of trabecular cells to TNFα for 72 hours differentially downregulated several PKC isoforms. Treatment with a phorbol mitogen that stimulates most PKC isoforms produced strong increases in these MMPs. TNFα's effects on MMP and TIMP expression were completely blocked by only one PKC inhibitor. CONCLUSIONS. The PKA and P13K pathways appear not to be involved directly in transducing this TNFα signal, but at least one isoform of PKC seems to be required. Based on the inhibitor profiles and the downregulation and translocation studies, PKCμ appears to be critical in transducing this signal. Unraveling the remaining steps in this and in additional related TM signal-transduction pathways may provide targets for developing improved glaucoma treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2831-2838
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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