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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Abnormal extracellular matrix metabolism in chronically ischemic skin: a mechanism for dermal failure in leg ulcers.

Extracellular matrix ( ECM) metabolism and homeostasis is sensitive to changes in oxygen tension manifest in ischemia. We hypothesize that in chronically ischemic limbs, abnormalities in uninjured skin, secondary to hypoxia, predispose to dermal breakdown. Paired biopsies of uninjured distal ischemic and proximal non-ischemic skin were harvested at below knee amputation from 14 patients with peripheral vascular disease following quantification of ischemia. Age- and site-matched controls were taken at total knee replacement (TKR) and varicose vein ( VV) operations. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 expression was determined using gelatin zymography, MMP-1 by western blotting and ELISA and tissue inhibitor of MMP (TIMP) by reverse zymography. Collagen content was measured by determining hydroxyproline levels, and collagen type I synthesis by ELISA. Collagen type I synthesis was upregulated in ischemic tissue compared with non-ischemic matched pairs (p<0.001) and both TKR and VV controls, however, there was no increase in collagen deposition. Levels of MMP-2 (p<0.0005) and TIMP-2 (p<0.01), were elevated in ischemic samples. MMP-9 was unaltered, signifying no inflammatory changes. Tissue ischemia was linked to elevated ECM turnover, associated with matrix failure when compounded with problems of matrix stabilization, likely in ischemia. This represents a potential mechanism for ulcer formation.[1]


  1. Abnormal extracellular matrix metabolism in chronically ischemic skin: a mechanism for dermal failure in leg ulcers. Dalton, S.J., Mitchell, D.C., Whiting, C.V., Tarlton, J.F. J. Invest. Dermatol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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