TIMP3/Wnt axis regulates gliosis of Müller glia

Jia Horung Hung, Ping Hsing Tsai, Wilson Jr F. Aala, Chao Chung Chen, Shih Hwa Chiou, Tak Wah Wong, Kuen Jer Tsai, Sheng Min Hsu, Li Wha Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Previous studies have confirmed the expression of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP3) in Müller glia (MG). However, the role of TIMP3 in MG remains unknown. Methods: A mouse model of laser-induced retinal damage and gliosis was generated using wild-type C57BL/6 mice. TIMP3 and associated proteins were detected using Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. RNA sequencing (GSE132140) of mouse laser-induced gliosis was utilized for pathway analysis. TIMP3 overexpression was induced in human MG. Human vitreous samples were obtained from patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and healthy controls for protein analysis. Results: TIMP3 levels increased in mouse eyes after laser damage. Morphology and spatial location of TIMP3 indicated its presence in MG. TIMP3-overexpressing MG showed increased cellular proliferation, migration, and cell nuclei size, suggesting TIMP3-induced gliosis for retinal repair. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin levels were elevated in TIMP3-overexpressing MG and laser-damaged mouse retinas. RNA sequencing and Western blotting suggested a role for β-catenin in mediating TIMP3 effects on the retina. Human vitreous samples from patients with PDR showed a positive correlation between TIMP3 and GFAP levels, both of which were elevated in patients with PDR. Conclusions: TIMP3 is associated with MG gliosis to enhance the repair ability of damaged retinas and is mediated by the canonical Wnt/β-catenin. Changes in TIMP3 could potentially be used to control gliosis in a range of retinal diseases However, given the multifaceted nature of TIMP3, care must be taken when developing treatments that aim solely to boost the function of TIMP3. Funding: National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Taiwan (NCKUH-10604009 and NCKUH-11202007); the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST 110-2314-B-006-086-MY3).

Original languageEnglish
Article number167087
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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