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

Systemic sclerosis fibroblasts inhibit in vitro angiogenesis by MMP-12-dependent cleavage of the endothelial cell urokinase receptor.

Failure of endothelial cells to develop new vessels in response to hypoxia is a distinctive feature of systemic sclerosis (SSc) in the avascular phase. We have previously shown that SSc endothelial cells over-express matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP-12), which blocks angiogenesis by cleavage of the endothelial urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). In the present study, we have investigated whether over-expression of MMP-12 and of angiostatic factors, or hypo-expression of angiogenic factors by SSc fibroblasts, contributes to impaired angiogenesis in SSc. Dermal fibroblasts were isolated from healthy subjects (N-Fb) and patients with diffuse SSc (SSc-Fb). Angiogenesis of target normal human microvascular endothelial cells (H-MVECs) was assayed by Matrigel invasion, cell proliferation, and capillary morphogenesis. uPAR cleavage and MMP-12 activity were evaluated by western blotting. We show that the over-expression of MMP-12 by SSc-Fb determines uPAR cleavage in H-MVECs. Conditioned medium from SSc-Fb impaired H-MVEC proliferation, invasion, and capillary morphogenesis. Anti-MMP-12 antibodies restored such impairment. Altered expression of angiostatic/angiogenic factors, including transforming growth factor beta1, did not account for SSc-Fb-dependent impairment of angiogenesis. The over-expression of MMP-12 by both SSc-Fb and SSc endothelial cells indicates that MMP-12 over-production may have a critical pathogenic role in SSc-associated vascular alterations. Copyright (c) 2006 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.[1]


  1. Systemic sclerosis fibroblasts inhibit in vitro angiogenesis by MMP-12-dependent cleavage of the endothelial cell urokinase receptor. Serratì, S., Cinelli, M., Margheri, F., Guiducci, S., Del Rosso, A., Pucci, M., Fibbi, G., Bazzichi, L., Bombardieri, S., Matucci-Cerinic, M., Del Rosso, M. J. Pathol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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