Accumulation of various lipid-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) deposits under the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) has been observed in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). RPE-derived matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-14, and basigin (BSG) are major enzymes involved in the maintenance of ECM turnover. Hypertension (HTN) is a systemic risk factor for AMD. It has previously been reported that angiotensin II (Ang II), one of the most important hormones associated with HTN, increases MMP-2 activity and its key regulator, MMP-14, in RPE, inducing breakdown of the RPE basement membrane, which may lead to progression of sub-RPE deposits. Ang II exerts most of its actions by activating the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Herein is explored the MAPK signaling pathway as a potential key intracellular modulator of Ang II-induced increase in MMP-2 activity and MMP-14 and BSG protein expression. It was observed that Ang II stimulates phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 MAPK in RPE cells and ERK/p38 and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in mice. These effects were mediated by Ang II type 1 receptors. Blockade of ERK or p38 MAPK abrogated the increase in MMP-2 activity and MMP-14 and BSG proteins in ARPE-19 cells. A better understanding of the molecular events by which Ang II induces ECM dysregulation is of critical importance to further define its contribution to the progression of sub-RPE deposits in AMD patients with HTN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine