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

Expression of 72-kDa gelatinase (MMP-2), collagenase (MMP-1), and tissue metalloproteinase inhibitor (TIMP) in primary pig skin fibroblast cultures derived from radiation-induced skin fibrosis.

In addition to producing matrix degradation for normal tissue remodeling and repair, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are also involved in various pathologic processes. MMPs and the tissue inhibitor of MMPs (TIMP) were investigated in primary cultures of pig fibroblasts from radiation-induced dermal fibrosis and compared to normal dermal fibroblasts. The free gelatinolytic, collagenolytic, and caseinolytic activities secreted into the culture medium were evaluated against specific 3H denatured collagen type I, native helical collagen, and casein alpha, respectively. The 72- and 68-kilodalton (kDa) forms of type IV collagenase were investigated by protease zymography and quantified by semi-automated image analysis. Transcription of the interstitial collagenase (MMP-1) and TIMP genes was studied by Northern hybridization analysis. Results revealed that in fibrotic fibroblasts, the amount of MMP-1 mRNA was greatly reduced to undetectable levels whereas the amount of TIMP mRNA was increased fourfold compared to controls. Functional assays using specific 3H substrates demonstrated an overall decrease in free MMP activities. Concomitantly, catheptic collagenolytic activity decreased in fibrotic fibroblast extracts compared to controls. These results indicate that in addition to accumulating large amounts of collagen, proteoglycans, and fibronectin, pig fibroblasts from radiation-induced dermal fibrosis also promote connective tissue matrix formation by repressing MMP-1 and stimulating TIMP expression at the transcriptional level, and by reducing overall free MMP and catheptic collagenolytic activities at the post-transcriptional level. In contrast, enzymography assays and automated image analysis demonstrated no significant change in the 72-kDa type IV collagenase activity of fibrotic pig skin fibroblasts. This opposite regulation of 72-kDa collagenase type IV to that of MMP-1 seems to indicate that it has a specific role in remodeling the extracellular matrix during wound healing, fibrogenesis, and angiogenesis.[1]


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