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1.  Active synovial matrix metalloproteinase-2 is associated with radiographic erosions in patients with early synovitis 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):145-153.
Serum and synovial tissue expression of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 and their molecular regulators, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 was examined in 28 patients with inflammatory early synovitis and 4 healthy volunteers and correlated with the presence of erosions in the patients. Immunohistological staining of MMP-2, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 localized to corresponding areas in the synovial lining layer and was almost absent in normal synovium. Patients with radiographic erosions had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than patients with no erosions, suggesting that activated MMP-2 levels in synovial tissue may be a marker for a more aggressive synovial lesion.
In cancer the gelatinases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9] have been shown to be associated with tissue invasion and metastatic disease. In patients with inflammatory arthritis the gelatinases are expressed in the synovial membrane, and have been implicated in synovial tissue invasion into adjacent cartilage and bone. It is hypothesized that an imbalance between the activators and inhibitors of the gelatinases results in higher levels of activity, enhanced local proteolysis, and bone erosion.
To determine whether the expression and activity levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their regulators MMP-14 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), are associated with early erosion formation in patients with synovitis of recent onset.
Patients and method:
A subset of 66 patients was selected from a larger early synovitis cohort on the basis of tissue availability for the study of synovial tissue and serum gelatinase expression. Patients with peripheral joint synovitis of less than 1 years' duration were evaluated clinically and serologically on four visits over a period of 12 months. At the initial visit, patients underwent a synovial tissue biopsy of one swollen joint, and patients had radiographic evaluation of hands and feet initially and at 1year. Serum MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 levels were determined, and synovial tissue was examined by immunohistology for the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their molecular regulators. Gelatinolytic activity for MMP-2 and MMP-9 was quantified using a sensitive, tissue-based gel zymography technique. Four healthy individuals underwent closed synovial biopsy and their synovial tissues were similarly analyzed.
Of the 66 patients studied, 45 fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with 32 (71%) being rheumatoid factor positive. Of the 21 non-RA patients, seven had a spondylarthropathy and 14 had undifferentiated arthritis. Radiographically, 12 of the RA patients had erosions at multiple sites by 1 year, whereas none of the non-RA patients had developed erosive disease of this extent. In the tissue, latent MMP-2 was widely expressed in the synovial lining layer and in areas of stromal proliferation in the sublining layer and stroma, whereas MMP-9 was expressed more sparsely and focally. MMP-14, TIMP-2, and MMP-2 were all detected in similar areas of the lining layer on consecutive histologic sections. Tissue expression of MMP-14, the activator for pro-MMP-2, was significantly higher in RA than in non-RA patients (8.4 ± 5 versus 3.7 ± 4 cells/high-power field; P = 0.009). In contrast, the expression of TIMP-2, an inhibitor of MMP-2, was lower in the RA than in the non-RA samples (25 ± 12 versus 39 ± 9 cells/high-power field; P = 0.01). Synovial tissue expressions of MMP-2, MMP-14, and TIMP-2 were virtually undetectable in normal synovial tissue samples. The synovial tissue samples of patients with erosive disease had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than did those of patients without erosions (Fig. 1). Tissue expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, however, did not correlate with the serum levels of these enzymes.
With the exception of serum MMP-2, which was not elevated over normal, serum levels of all of the other MMPs and TIMPs were elevated to varying degrees, and were not predictive of erosive disease. Interestingly, MMP-1 and C-reactive protein, both of which were associated with the presence of erosions, were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.42; P < 0.001).
MMP-2 and MMP-9 are thought to play an important role in the evolution of joint erosions in patients with an inflammatory arthritis. Most studies have concentrated on the contribution of MMP-9 to the synovitis, because synovial fluid and serum MMP-9 levels are markedly increased in inflammatory arthropathies. Previously reported serum levels of MMP-9 have varied widely. In the present sample of patients with synovitis of recent onset, serum MMP-9 levels were elevated in only 21%. Moreover, these elevations were not specific for RA, the tissue expression of MMP-9 was focal, and the levels of MMP-9 activity were not well correlated with early erosions. Although serum MMP-2 levels were not of prognostic value, high synovial tissue levels of MMP-2 activity were significantly correlated with the presence of early erosions. This may reflect augmented activation of MMP-2 by the relatively high levels of MMP-14 and low levels of TIMP-2 seen in these tissues. We were able to localize the components of this trimolecular complex to the synovial lining layer in consecutive tissue sections, a finding that is consistent with their colocalization.
In conclusion, we have provided evidence that active MMP-2 complexes are detectable in the inflamed RA synovium and may be involved in the development of early bony erosions. These results suggest that strategies to inhibit the activation of MMP-2 may have the potential for retarding or preventing early erosions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17808  PMID: 11062605
early synovitis; erosion; metalloproteinase; matrix metalloproteinase-2; rheumatoid arthritis
2.  MMP-10 Is Overexpressed, Proteolytically Active, and a Potential Target for Therapeutic Intervention in Human Lung Carcinomas1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2004;6(6):777-785.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-mediated degradation of the extracellular matrix is a major factor for tumor development and expansion. This study analysed MMP-10 protein expression and activity in human lung tumors of various grade, stage, and type to address the relationship between MMP-10 and tumor characteristics and to evaluate MMP-10 as a therapeutic target in non small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Unlike the majority of MMPs, MMP-10 was located in the tumor mass as opposed to tumor stroma. MMP-10 protein was observed at low levels in normal human lung tissues and at significantly higher levels in all types of NSCLC. No correlation was observed between MMP-10 protein expression and tumor type, stage, or lymph node invasion. To discriminate between active and inactive forms of MMP-10 in samples of human NSCLC, we have developed an ex vivo fluorescent assay. Measurable MMP-10 activity was detected in 42 of 50 specimens of lung cancer and only 2 of 10 specimens of histologically normal lung tissue. No relationship was observed between MMP-10 activity levels and clinicopathologic characteristics. Our results suggest that MMP-10 is expressed and active at high levels in human NSCLC compared to normal lung tissues, and, as such, is a potential target for the development of novel therapeutics for lung cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC1550316  PMID: 15720804
Matrix metalloproteinase; MMP-10; non small cell lung carcinoma; tumor development; molecular target
3.  Collagenolytic and gelatinolytic matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in basal cell carcinoma of skin: comparison with normal skin 
British Journal of Cancer  2000;82(3):657-665.
Tissue from 54 histologically-identified basal cell carcinomas of the skin was obtained at surgery and assayed using a combination of functional and immunochemical procedures for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) with collagenolytic activity and for MMPs with gelatinolytic activity. Collagenolytic enzymes included MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase), MMP-8 (neutrophil collagenase) and MMP-13 (collagenase-3). Gelatinolytic enzymes included MMP-2 (72-kDa gelatinase A/type IV collagenase) and MMP-9 (92-kDa gelatinase B/type IV collagenase). Inhibitors of MMP activity including tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 and -2 (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) were also assessed. All three collagenases and both gelatinases were detected immunochemically. MMP-1 appeared to be responsible for most of the functional collagenolytic activity while gelatinolytic activity reflected both MMP-2 and MMP-9. MMP inhibitor activity was also present, and appeared, based on immunochemical procedures, to reflect the presence of TIMP-1 but not TIMP-2. As a group, tumours identified as having aggressive-growth histologic patterns were not distinguishable from basal cell carcinomas with less aggressive-growth histologic patterns. In normal skin, the same MMPs were detected by immunochemical means. However, only low to undetectable levels of collagenolytic and gelatinolytic activities were present. In contrast, MMP inhibitor activity was comparable to that seen in tumour tissue. In previous studies we have shown that exposure of normal skin to epidermal growth factor in organ culture induces MMP up-regulation and activation. This treatment concomitantly induces stromal invasion by the epithelium (Varani et al (1995) Am J Pathol146: 210–217; Zeigler et al (1996 b) Invasion Metastasis16: 11–18). Taken together with these previous data, the present findings allow us to conclude that the same profile of MMP/MMP inhibitors that is associated with stromal invasion in the organ culture model is expressed endogenously in basal cell carcinomas of skin. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363319  PMID: 10682680
interstitial collagenase; collagenase-3; tissue inhibitoral metalloproteinase invasion; fibroblast; epithelial cells; endothelial cells
4.  Determinants of extracellular matrix remodelling are differentially expressed in paediatric and adult dilated cardiomyopathy 
European Journal of Heart Failure  2010;13(3):271-277.
The left ventricular phenotype of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) can appear similar in paediatric and adult patients. However, the aetiology of paediatric DCM is usually idiopathic, and often leads an aggressive clinical course. A structural underpinning of DCM is extracellular matrix changes, which are determined by a balance between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs). This study tested the hypothesis that different MMP/TIMP profiles occur in paediatric and adult DCM patients.
Methods and results
Left ventricular samples from paediatric (age 9 ± 5 years; n = 10) and adult (age 62 ± 3 years; n = 20) DCM (at time of transplant) were subjected to an MMP/TIMP multiplex array and immunoassay in order to measure the MMP subclasses; collagenases (MMP-8, -13), gelatinases (MMP-2, -9), stromelysin/matrilysin (MMP-3, -7), membrane type (MT1-MMP), as well as for the four known TIMPs. MMP-8 and -9 levels increased by over 150% (P < 0.05), whereas MMP-3 and -7 levels decreased by over 30% (P < 0.05) in paediatric DCM when compared with adult DCM. TIMP-1 and -2 levels increased two-fold (P < 0.05), but TIMP-3 fell by 41% (P < 0.05) in paediatric DCM. Myocardial levels of specific interleukins (IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-8) were increased by approximately 50% in paediatric DCM.
These unique findings demonstrated that a specific MMP/TIMP profile occurs in paediatric DCM when compared with adult DCM, and that local cytokine induction may contribute to this process. These distinct differences in the determinants of myocardial matrix structure and function may contribute to the natural history of DCM in children.
PMCID: PMC3041467  PMID: 21147820
Cardiomyopathy; Extracellular matrix; Matrix metalloproteinase; Paediatrics
5.  MT2-MMP expression associates with tumor progression and angiogenesis in human lung cancer 
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of important proteolytic enzymes that play an important role in the remodeling of the tumor microenvironment and associate with tumorigenesis and metastasis. We previously reported that membrane type-2 MMP (MT2-MMP) is highly expressed in human esophageal cancer tissues, and its expression level is positively correlated to tumor size and intratumoral angiogenesis. In order to reveal whether MT2-MMP expression is operative in human lung cancer and its underlying physio-pathological role, in the present study, we examined both mRNA and protein expression levels of MT2-MMP in non-small cell lung caner (NSCLC) tissues and in adjacent normal tissues by using real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively, which showed that both MT2-MMP mRNA (P=0.0359) and protein (P<0.0001) expression levels were significantly increased in cancer tissues in contrast to adjacent normal tissues. Moreover, we also found that the MT2-MMP protein level in cancer tissues positively correlated to lymph node metastasis (P=0.0483), tumor stage (P=0.0483), intra-tumoral microvessel density (MVD) (P=0.0445). We have not found statistically significant correlation between MT2-MMP expression and patients’ prognoses, but we found that the patients with both higher MT2-MMP protein expression and higher intra-tumoral microvessel density showed better prognoses than that of the patients with either higher MT2-MMP protein expression or higher intra-tumoral microvessel density (P=0.0311). Thus, our data suggest that MT2-MMP expression positively involves in NSCLC, and might play an important role in promoting the tumor progression and intra-tumoral angiogenesis in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4097292  PMID: 25031779
MT2-MMP; NSCLC; intratumoral angiogenesis; prognosis
6.  Detection of circulating vascular endothelial growth factor and matrix metalloproteinase-9 in non-small cell lung cancer using Luminex multiplex technology 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(2):499-506.
It has been previously reported that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 are important for the occurrence and development of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The present study was designed to detect the serum levels of VEGF and MMP-9 in NSCLC, and to explore their diagnostic and prognostic values. A total of 543 cases were involved, of which 332 were NSCLC (272 cases in the pretreatment group and 60 cases in the postoperative group), 91 were patients with benign lung diseases and 120 were healthy controls. The serum levels of VEGF and MMP-9 were determined by Luminex multiplex technology. The serum levels of VEGF and MMP-9 were found to be significantly higher in the pretreatment group than those in the patients with benign lung diseases and healthy controls (VEGF, P<0.0001; MMP-9, P<0.0001). Compared with the pretreatment group, the serum levels of VEGF and MMP-9 in the postoperative group were significantly decreased (VEGF, P=0.005; MMP-9, P=0.002), and the levels of VEGF and MMP-9 in the pretreatment group of patients with stages III and IV were higher than those with stages I and II (VEGF, P<0.0001; MMP-9, P=0.021). In addition, the levels of VEGF and MMP-9 were found to closely correlate with lymph node metastasis (VEGF, P<0.0001; MMP-9, P<0.0001) in the pretreatment group, while being independent of other clinicopathological parameters (P>0.05). Furthermore, a positive correlation was observed between the serum levels of VEGF and MMP-9 (r=0.159; P=0.009). A receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that the diagnostic value of MMP-9 was higher than that of VEGF in the pretreatment group. The log-rank test indicated that the inoperable NSCLC patients with low levels of VEGF exhibited a significantly longer overall survival time than those with high VEGF levels (P<0.0001). Additionally, the serum levels of VEGF and lymph node metastasis were identified as independent prognostic factors of the inoperable NSCLC patients in a multivariate Cox regression analysis (P<0.05). These results indicated that VEGF and MMP-9 may be potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3881935  PMID: 24396477
Luminex; vascular endothelial growth factor; matrix metalloproteinase-9; non-small cell lung cancer
7.  Matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in synovial fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2000;59(6):455-461.
OBJECTIVE—Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are expressed in joint tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). The objective of this study was to define the steady state levels of seven different MMPs and two tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) as well as the potential metalloproteinase activity in the synovial fluid (SF) to provide more insight into the role of MMPs in cartilage destruction in RA and OA.
METHODS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9, MMP-13, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 in SF aspirated from knee joints of 97 patients with RA and 103 patients with OA were measured by the corresponding one step sandwich enzyme immunoassays. Proteolytic activity of MMPs in these SFs was examined in an assay using [3H]carboxymethylated transferrin substrate in the presence of inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteinases after activation with p-aminophenylmercuric acetate (APMA). Destruction of RA knee joints was radiographically evaluated.
RESULTS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, and MMP-9 were significantly higher in RA SF than in OA SF. MMP-7 and MMP-13 were detectable in more than 45% of RA SFs and in less than 20% of OA SFs, respectively. Among the MMPs examined, MMP-3 levels were extremely high compared with those of other MMPs. Direct correlations were seen between the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 and between those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 in RA SF. Although the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 increased even in the early stage of RA, those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 were low in the early stage and increased with the progression of RA. Molar ratios of the total amounts of the MMPs to those of the TIMPs were 5.2-fold higher in patients with RA than in OA, which was significant. APMA-activated metalloproteinase activity in SF showed a similar result, and a direct correlation was seen between the molar ratios and the activity in RA SF.
CONCLUSIONS—Our results show that high levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 are present in RA SF and suggest that once these MMPs are fully activated, they have an imbalance against TIMPs, which may contribute to the cartilage destruction in RA.

PMCID: PMC1753174  PMID: 10834863
8.  In vitro and in vivo MMP gene expression localisation by In Situ-RT-PCR in cell culture and paraffin embedded human breast cancer cell line xenografts 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:18.
Members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of proteases are required for the degradation of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix in both normal and pathological conditions. In vitro, MT1-MMP (MMP-14, membrane type-1-MMP) expression is higher in more invasive human breast cancer (HBC) cell lines, whilst in vivo its expression has been associated with the stroma surrounding breast tumours. MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase) has been associated with MDA-MB-231 invasion in vitro, while MMP-3 (stromelysin-1) has been localised around invasive cells of breast tumours in vivo. As MMPs are not stored intracellularly, the ability to localise their expression to their cells of origin is difficult.
We utilised the unique in situ-reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (IS-RT-PCR) methodology to localise the in vitro and in vivo gene expression of MT1-MMP, MMP-1 and MMP-3 in human breast cancer. In vitro, MMP induction was examined in the MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 HBC cell lines following exposure to Concanavalin A (Con A). In vivo, we examined their expression in archival paraffin embedded xenografts derived from a range of HBC cell lines of varied invasive and metastatic potential. Mouse xenografts are heterogenous, containing neoplastic human parenchyma with mouse stroma and vasculature and provide a reproducible in vivo model system correlated to the human disease state.
In vitro, exposure to Con A increased MT1-MMP gene expression in MDA-MB-231 cells and decreased MT1-MMP gene expression in MCF-7 cells. MMP-1 and MMP-3 gene expression remained unchanged in both cell lines. In vivo, stromal cells recruited into each xenograft demonstrated differences in localised levels of MMP gene expression. Specifically, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-435 and Hs578T HBC cell lines are able to influence MMP gene expression in the surrounding stroma.
We have demonstrated the applicability and sensitivity of IS-RT-PCR for the examination of MMP gene expression both in vitro and in vivo. Induction of MMP gene expression in both the epithelial tumour cells and surrounding stromal cells is associated with increased metastatic potential. Our data demonstrate the contribution of the stroma to epithelial MMP gene expression, and highlight the complexity of the role of MMPs in the stromal-epithelial interactions within breast carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC1397851  PMID: 16430785
9.  Vitamin D3 inhibits expression and activities of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 in human uterine fibroid cells 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2013;28(9):2407-2416.
Can biologically active vitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] regulate the expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in human uterine fibroid cells?
1,25(OH)2D3 effectively reduced the expression and activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in cultured human uterine fibroid cells.
Uterine fibroids (leiomyoma) express higher levels of MMP activity than adjacent normal myometrium, and this is associated with uterine fibroid pathogenesis. However, it is unknown whether 1,25(OH)2D3 can regulate the expression and activities of MMPs in human uterine fibroid cells.
Surgically removed fresh fibroid tissue was used to generate primary uterine fibroid cells.
An immortalized human uterine fibroid cell line (HuLM) and/or primary human uterine fibroid cells isolated from fresh fibroid tissue were used to examine the expression of several MMPs, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP) 1 and 2 and the activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9 after 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment. Real-time PCR and western blots analyses were used to measure mRNA and protein expression of MMPs, respectively. Supernatant cell culture media were analyzed for MMP-2 and MMP-9 activities using a gelatin zymography assay.
1–1000 nM 1,25(OH)2D3 significantly reduced mRNA levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in HuLM cells in a concentration-dependent manner (P < 0.5 to P < 0.001). The mRNA levels of MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-13 and MMP-14 in HuLM cells were also reduced by 1,25(OH)2D3. 1,25(OH)2D3 significantly reduced MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein levels in a concentration-dependent manner in both HuLM and primary uterine fibroid cells (P < 0.05 to P < 0.001). Moreover, 1,25(OH)2D3 increased the mRNA levels of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and TIMP-2 in a concentration-dependent manner in HuLM cells (P < 0.05 to P < 0.01). 1,25(OH)2D3 also significantly increased protein levels of VDR and TIMP-2 in all cell types tested (P < 0.05 to P < 0.001). Gelatin zymography revealed that pro-MMP-2, active MMP-2 and pro-MMP-9 were down-regulated by 1,25(OH)2D3 in a concentration-dependent manner; however, the active MMP-9 was undetectable.
This study was performed using in vitro uterine fibroid cell cultures and the results were extrapolated to in vivo situation of uterine fibroids. Moreover, in this study the interaction of vitamin D3 with other regulators such as steroid hormone receptors was not explored.
This study reveals an important biological function of 1,25(OH)2D3 in the regulation of expression and activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Thus, 1,25(OH)2D3 might be a potential effective, safe non-surgical treatment option for human uterine fibroids.
This study was primarily supported by Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI)-pilot grant 2 G12 RR003032-26 to S.K.H. and supported in part by Meharry Translation Research Center/Clinical Research Center (MeTRC/CRC) award (RE: 202142-535001-20) to S.K.H. and NIH/NICHD 1 R01 HD046228 to A.A-H. The authors have no conflicts of interests.
Not applicable.
PMCID: PMC3748859  PMID: 23814095
vitamin D3; fibroids; VDR; MMPs; TIMP-2
10.  Enhancement of membrane-type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) production and sequential activation of progelatinase A on human squamous carcinoma cells co-cultured with human dermal fibroblasts 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;80(8):1137-1143.
Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2)/gelatinase A plays an important role in tumour invasion and metastasis. Since MMP-2 is secreted as an inactive form (proMMP-2) from tumour and neighbouring stroma cells, the activation process is necessary to express the enzymic activity for degradation of extracellular matrix components. We herein reported that the activation of proMMP-2 was induced in human squamous carcinoma cells co-cultured with normal human dermal fibroblasts. When A431 cells were co-cultured with human fibroblasts at various cell ratios, 72-kDa proMMP-2 was converted to a 62-kDa active form through the appearance of a 64-kDa intermediate. The activation of proMMP-2 by co-culture was also observed in other carcinoma cell lines, HSC-4 and SAS, but not in normal human keratinocytes. We characterized by in vitro invasion assay that A431 cells in co-culture preferentially invaded through Matrigel and the increased invasive activity was inhibited by exogenously adding tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2. The augmented proMMP-2 activation by co-culture was achieved by the increase in membrane type 1-MMP (MT1-MMP) production along with that of its mRNA level. The predominant appearance of MT1-MMP was immunologically observed in A431 cells, but not human fibroblasts of the co-culture. Furthermore, epidermal growth factor (EGF) enhanced the co-culture-mediated proMMP-2 activation by increasing the production and gene expression of MT1-MMP, and thereby tumour invasive activity was further augmented. These results suggest that the cell–cell contact between carcinoma cells and normal fibroblasts enhances the production of MT1-MMP followed by sequential activation of proMMP-2 on the tumour cell surface, which may be closely implicated in tumour invasion in vivo. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2362364  PMID: 10376963
membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase; progelatinase A; co-culture; human squamous carcinoma cells; human dermal fibroblasts
11.  Analysis of 16 different matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1 to MMP-20) in the synovial membrane: different profiles in trauma and rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1999;58(11):691-697.
OBJECTIVE—To define the pattern of mRNA expression of all human matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) described to date in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and traumatic synovial membrane, in order to differentiate between a physiological tissue remodelling pattern and that associated with inflammatory tissue destruction.
METHODS—Analysis of SwissProt protein and EMBL/GenBank nucleotide sequence banks, protein sequence alignment, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and nucleotide sequencing were used.
RESULTS—MMP-2 (gelatinase A), MMP-3 (stromelysin-1), MMP-11 (stromelysin-3) and MMP-19 were constitutively expressed. MMP-1 (fibroblast type collagenase), MMP-9 (gelatinase B) and MMP-14 (MT1-MMP) were expressed in all RA, but only in 55-80% of trauma samples. MMP-13 (collagenase-3) and MMP-15 (MT2-MMP) were expressed exclusively in RA (80-90% of the samples). MMP-20 (enamelysin) was absent and MMP-8 (collagenase-2) was rarely found in RA or trauma. All other MMPs (-7, -10, -12, -16, -17) had an intermediate pattern of expression.
CONCLUSIONS—Some MMPs without interstitial collagenase activity seem to have a constitutive pattern of expression and probably participate in physiological synovial tissue remodelling. Some MMPs are exclusively associated to RA synovitis, for example, MMP-13, which preferentially degrades type II collagen and aggrecan, and MMP-15, which activates proMMP-2 and proMMP-13 and is involved in tumour necrosis factor α processing. This clear cut rheumatoid/inflammatory MMP profile, more complex than has been previously appreciated, may facilitate inflammatory tissue destruction in RA.

PMCID: PMC1752794  PMID: 10531073
12.  Production of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (92-kDa gelatinase) by human oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in response to epidermal growth factor. 
British Journal of Cancer  1993;67(4):721-727.
We demonstrated that four human oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell lines (TE8, TE9, TE10 and TE11) produced matrix metalloproteinase-1 (proMMP-1/tissue collagenase), 2 (ProMMP-2/'type IV collagenase'), 3 (proMMP-3/stromelysin), and 9 (proMMP-9/92-kDa gelatinase) as members of a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family, which degrades extracellular matrix macromolecules. Under normal culture conditions, in immunoblot analysis, proMMP-1 of M(r) = 53,00 was detected in one cell line (TE8), proMMP-2 of M(r) = 72,000 in three cell lines (TE9, TE10, and TE11), and proMMP-3 of M(r) = 57,000 in all four cell lines. In addition to these enzymes, in enzymography, a gelatinolytic activity around M(r) = 92-kDa, likely to be proMMP-9, was detected in only one cell line (TE10) under normal culture conditions. When these cell lines were treated with epidermal growth factor (EGF), however, the agent stimulated three cell lines (TE8, TE10 and TE11) to produce proMMP-9 in a dose-dose dependent manner. Oesophageal carcinoma-conditioned medium stimulated oesophageal fibroblasts to produce proMMP-1, -2, and -3, suggesting that the interaction between oesophageal carcinoma and stromal fibroblasts also plays a role in the production of MMPs by the latter. Our present study illustrates that oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma produces a variety of MMPs including proMMP-1, -2, -3, and -9 in vitro, suggesting that the ability of MMP production of the tumour may play an important role in its malignant behaviour and that the production of proMMP-9 may be regulated by EGF via overexpression of EGF receptors.
PMCID: PMC1968375  PMID: 8471429
13.  Integrative Genomic Analyses Identify BRF2 as a Novel Lineage-Specific Oncogene in Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000315.
William Lockwood and colleagues show that the focal amplification of a gene, BRF2, on Chromosome 8p12 plays a key role in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.
Traditionally, non-small cell lung cancer is treated as a single disease entity in terms of systemic therapy. Emerging evidence suggests the major subtypes—adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC)—respond differently to therapy. Identification of the molecular differences between these tumor types will have a significant impact in designing novel therapies that can improve the treatment outcome.
Methods and Findings
We used an integrative genomics approach, combing high-resolution comparative genomic hybridization and gene expression microarray profiles, to compare AC and SqCC tumors in order to uncover alterations at the DNA level, with corresponding gene transcription changes, which are selected for during development of lung cancer subtypes. Through the analysis of multiple independent cohorts of clinical tumor samples (>330), normal lung tissues and bronchial epithelial cells obtained by bronchial brushing in smokers without lung cancer, we identified the overexpression of BRF2, a gene on Chromosome 8p12, which is specific for development of SqCC of lung. Genetic activation of BRF2, which encodes a RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcription initiation factor, was found to be associated with increased expression of small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) that are involved in processes essential for cell growth, such as RNA splicing. Ectopic expression of BRF2 in human bronchial epithelial cells induced a transformed phenotype and demonstrates downstream oncogenic effects, whereas RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown suppressed growth and colony formation of SqCC cells overexpressing BRF2, but not AC cells. Frequent activation of BRF2 in >35% preinvasive bronchial carcinoma in situ, as well as in dysplastic lesions, provides evidence that BRF2 expression is an early event in cancer development of this cell lineage.
This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that the focal amplification of a gene in Chromosome 8p12, plays a key role in squamous cell lineage specificity of the disease. Our data suggest that genetic activation of BRF2 represents a unique mechanism of SqCC lung tumorigenesis through the increase of Pol III-mediated transcription. It can serve as a marker for lung SqCC and may provide a novel target for therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death. Every year, 1.3 million people die from this disease, which is mainly caused by smoking. Most cases of lung cancer are “non-small cell lung cancers” (NSCLCs). Like all cancers, NSCLC starts when cells begin to divide uncontrollably and to move round the body (metastasize) because of changes (mutations) in their genes. These mutations are often in “oncogenes,” genes that, when activated, encourage cell division. Oncogenes can be activated by mutations that alter the properties of the proteins they encode or by mutations that increase the amount of protein made from them, such as gene amplification (an increase in the number of copies of a gene). If NSCLC is diagnosed before it has spread from the lungs (stage I disease), it can be surgically removed and many patients with stage I NSCLC survive for more than 5 years after their diagnosis. Unfortunately, in more than half of patients, NSCLC has metastasized before it is diagnosed. This stage IV NSCLC can be treated with chemotherapy (toxic chemicals that kill fast-growing cancer cells) but only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer are alive 5 years after diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Traditionally, NSCLC has been regarded as a single disease in terms of treatment. However, emerging evidence suggests that the two major subtypes of NSCLC—adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC)—respond differently to chemotherapy. Adenocarcinoma and SqCC start in different types of lung cell and experts think that for each cell type in the body, specific combinations of mutations interact with the cell type's own unique characteristics to provide the growth and survival advantage needed for cancer development. If this is true, then identifying the molecular differences between adenocarcinoma and SqCC could provide targets for more effective therapies for these major subtypes of NSCLC. Amplification of a chromosome region called 8p12 is very common in NSCLC, which suggests that an oncogene that drives lung cancer development is present in this chromosome region. In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility by looking for an amplified gene in the 8p12 chromosome region that makes increased amounts of protein in lung SqCC but not in lung adenocarcinoma.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a technique called comparative genomic hybridization to show that focal regions of Chromosome 8p are amplified in about 40% of lung SqCCs, but that DNA loss in this region is the most common alteration in lung adenocarcinomas. Ten genes in the 8p12 chromosome region were expressed at higher levels in the SqCC samples that they examined than in adenocarcinoma samples, they report, and overexpression of five of these genes correlated with amplification of the 8p12 region in the SqCC samples. Only one of the genes—BRF2—was more highly expressed in squamous carcinoma cells than in normal bronchial epithelial cells (the cell type that lines the tubes that take air into the lungs and from which SqCC develops). Artificially induced expression of BRF2 in bronchial epithelial cells made these normal cells behave like tumor cells, whereas reduction of BRF2 expression in squamous carcinoma cells made them behave more like normal bronchial epithelial cells. Finally, BRF2 was frequently activated in two early stages of squamous cell carcinoma—bronchial carcinoma in situ and dysplastic lesions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Together, these findings show that the focal amplification of chromosome region 8p12 plays a role in the development of lung SqCC but not in the development of lung adenocarcinoma, the other major subtype of NSCLC. These findings identify BRF2 (which encodes a RNA polymerase III transcription initiation factor, a protein that is required for the synthesis of RNA molecules that help to control cell growth) as a lung SqCC-specific oncogene and uncover a unique mechanism for lung SqCC development. Most importantly, these findings suggest that genetic activation of BRF2 could be used as a marker for lung SqCC, which might facilitate the early detection of this type of NSCLC and that BRF2 might provide a new target for therapy.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and professionals about all aspects of lung cancer, including information on non-small cell carcinoma (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides information about lung cancer and information on how cancer starts
MedlinePlus has links to other resources about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2910599  PMID: 20668658
14.  Discovery of a Siderophore Export System Essential for Virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(1):e1003120.
Iron is an essential nutrient for most bacterial pathogens, but is restricted by the host immune system. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) utilizes two classes of small molecules, mycobactins and carboxymycobactins, to capture iron from the human host. Here, we show that an Mtb mutant lacking the mmpS4 and mmpS5 genes did not grow under low iron conditions. A cytoplasmic iron reporter indicated that the double mutant experienced iron starvation even under high-iron conditions. Loss of mmpS4 and mmpS5 did not change uptake of carboxymycobactin by Mtb. Thin layer chromatography showed that the ΔmmpS4/S5 mutant was strongly impaired in biosynthesis and secretion of siderophores. Pull-down experiments with purified proteins demonstrated that MmpS4 binds to a periplasmic loop of the associated transporter protein MmpL4. This interaction was corroborated by genetic experiments. While MmpS5 interacted only with MmpL5, MmpS4 interacted with both MmpL4 and MmpL5. These results identified MmpS4/MmpL4 and MmpS5/MmpL5 as siderophore export systems in Mtb and revealed that the MmpL proteins transport small molecules other than lipids. MmpS4 and MmpS5 resemble periplasmic adapter proteins of tripartite efflux pumps of Gram-negative bacteria, however, they are not only required for export but also for efficient siderophore synthesis. Membrane association of MbtG suggests a link between siderophore synthesis and transport. The structure of the soluble domain of MmpS4 (residues 52–140) was solved by NMR and indicates that mycobacterial MmpS proteins constitute a novel class of transport accessory proteins. The bacterial burden of the mmpS4/S5 deletion mutant in mouse lungs was lower by 10,000-fold and none of the infected mice died within 180 days compared to wild-type Mtb. This is the strongest attenuation observed so far for Mtb mutants lacking genes involved in iron utilization. In conclusion, this study identified the first components of novel siderophore export systems which are essential for virulence of Mtb.
Author Summary
In the late 19th century the French physician Armand Trousseau recognized that treating anemic tuberculosis patients with iron salts exacerbated the disease. In 1911 Twort postulated that mycobacteria produce an essential growth factor which was identified in 1953 as mycobactin. The hydrophobic mycobactin and its more water-soluble cousin carboxymycobactin are small molecules made by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to scavenge iron from its human host. While the biosynthesis of these siderophores has been decoded, it was unknown how M. tuberculosis secretes these molecules. In this study, we identified two similar transport systems, MmpS4/MmpL4 and MmpS5/MmpL5, which are required for biosynthesis and export of siderophores by M. tuberculosis. The lack of these transport systems drastically decreased the number of M. tuberculosis cells in the lungs and spleens of infected mice. Lung examination and histological assessment in mice infected with the mmpS4/S5 deletion strain showed almost no signs of infection. Further, none of the mice infected with this strain died within 180 days in contrast to wild-type M. tuberculosis. In this study, we identified the first components of a novel siderophore export system in M. tuberculosis and showed the importance of siderophore export for virulence of M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3561183  PMID: 23431276
15.  Protective Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in Ozone-Induced Airway Inflammation 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;115(11):1557-1563.
Exposure to ozone causes airway inflammation, hyperreactivity, lung hyper-permeability, and epithelial cell injury. An early inflammatory response induced by inhaled O3 is characterized primarily by release of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, chemokines, and airway neutrophil accumulation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of oxidative lung disorders including acute lung injury, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
We hypothesized that MMPs have an important role in the pathogenesis of O3-induced airway inflammation.
We compared the lung injury responses in either Mmp7- (Mmp7−/−) or Mmp9-deficient (Mmp9−/−) mice and their wild-type controls (Mmp7+/+, Mmp9+/+) after exposure to 0.3 ppm O3 or filtered air.
Relative to air-exposed controls, MMP-9 activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was significantly increased by O3 exposure in Mmp9+/+ mice. O3-induced increases in the concentration of total protein (a marker of lung permeability) and the numbers of neutrophils and epithelial cells in BALF were significantly greater in Mmp9−/− mice compared with Mmp9+/+ mice. Keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC) and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 levels in BALF were also significantly higher in Mmp9−/− mice than in Mmp9+/+ mice after O3 exposure, although no differences in mRNA expression for these chemokines were found between genotypes. Mean BALF protein concentration and numbers of inflammatory cells were not significantly different between Mmp7+/+ and Mmp7−/− mice after O3 exposure.
Results demonstrated a protective role of MMP-9 but not of MMP-7, in O3-induced lung neutrophilic inflammation and hyperpermeability. The mechanism through which Mmp9 limits O3-induced airway injury is not known but may be via posttranscriptional effects on proinflammatory CXC chemokines including KC and MIP-2.
PMCID: PMC2072825  PMID: 18007984
chemokine; knockout mice; lung; MMP-9; O3; oxidant
16.  Bacterial phospholipase C upregulates matrix metalloproteinase expression by cultured epithelial cells. 
Infection and Immunity  1997;65(12):4931-4936.
Phospholipase C (PLC) is a putative virulence factor of several pathogenic bacteria. We studied if exogenous PLC would perturb epithelial behavior in infected tissues. Gelatin and casein zymography of cell culture medium indicated that the broad-spectrum PLC of Bacillus cereus induced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) production in epithelial cells of human skin (NHEK), human gingiva (HGE), and porcine periodontal ligament (PLE). In all three cell types, the strongest increase (ninefold) at 0.1 U/ml was seen in the MMP-9 (92-kDa gelatinase) activity, and the effect was dose dependent in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 U/ml. A relatively weaker increase (twofold) in MMP-2 (72-kDa gelatinase) was also observed in each cell type. PLC induction of MMP-3 (48-kDa stromelysin) was also seen in NHEK and HGE on gelatin and more sensitively for PLE by casein zymography (fivefold). Total gelatinolytic activity as measured by degradation of 14C-labeled denatured type I collagen increased by about 18-fold (NHEK), 12-fold (HGE), and 14-fold (PLE). Northern analysis showed a clear increase in the MMP-9, and a minor increase in MMP-3 mRNA levels but no significant increase in MMP-2 mRNA levels. Further studies with PLE revealed that MMP-9 induction by PLC progressively increased with the length of cell culture time in the absence of serum. PLC induction of MMPs was polar, with MMP-9 and MMP-3 secreted primarily in the apical direction and MMP-2 secreted mainly in the basal direction. The PLC effect was blocked by neomycin, an inhibitor of the phosphoinositol signal pathway. No significant effects were observed in MMP expression with the calcium ionophore A23187 or phospholipase A2. Morphologically, PLC treatment resulted in reduced contacts between the cultured cells and loss of the cell surface microvilli. These results suggest that PLC secreted by bacterial pathogens may disrupt epithelium of infected tissue and increase the subepithelial tissue destruction through induction of MMPs.
PMCID: PMC175711  PMID: 9393778
17.  The effects of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on matrix metalloproteinase and prostaglandin E2 production by cells of the rheumatoid lesion 
Arthritis Research  1999;1(1):63-70.
The biologically active metabolite of vitamin D3, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3], acts through vitamin D receptors, which were found in rheumatoid tissues in the present study. IL-1β-activated rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts and human articular chondrocytes were shown to respond differently to exposure to 1α,25(OH)2D3, which has different effects on the regulatory pathways of specific matrix metalloproteinases and prostaglandin E2.
1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3], the biologically active metabolite of vitamin D3, acts through an intracellular vitamin D receptor (VDR) and has several immunostimulatory effects. Animal studies have shown that production of some matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) may be upregulated in rat chondrocytes by administration of 1α,25(OH)2D3; and cell cultures have suggested that 1α,25(OH)2D3 may affect chondrocytic function. Discoordinate regulation by vitamin D of MMP-1 and MMP-9 in human mononuclear phagocytes has also been reported. These data suggest that vitamin D may regulate MMP expression in tissues where VDRs are expressed. Production of 1α,25(OH)2D3 within synovial fluids of arthritic joints has been shown and VDRs have been found in rheumatoid synovial tissues and at sites of cartilage erosion. The physiological function of 1α,25(OH)2D3 at these sites remains obscure. MMPs play a major role in cartilage breakdown in the rheumatoid joint and are produced locally by several cell types under strict control by regulatory factors. As 1α,25(OH)2D3 modulates the production of specific MMPs and is produced within the rheumatoid joint, the present study investigates its effects on MMP and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in two cell types known to express chondrolytic enzymes.
To investigate VDR expression in rheumatoid tissues and to examine the effects of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on cultured rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RSFs) and human articular chondrocytes (HACs) with respect to MMP and PGE2 production.
Rheumatoid synovial tissues were obtained from arthroplasty procedures on patients with late-stage rheumatoid arthritis; normal articular cartilage was obtained from lower limb amputations. Samples were embedded in paraffin, and examined for presence of VDRs by immunolocalisation using a biotinylated antibody and alkaline-phosphatase-conjugated avidin-biotin complex system. Cultured synovial fibroblasts and chondrocytes were treated with either 1α,25(OH)2D3, or interleukin (IL)-1β or both. Conditioned medium was assayed for MMP and PGE2 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the results were normalised relative to control values.
The rheumatoid synovial tissue specimens (n = 18) immunostained for VDRs showed positive staining but at variable distributions and in no observable pattern. VDR-positive cells were also observed in association with some cartilage-pannus junctions (the rheumatoid lesion). MMP production by RSFs in monolayer culture was not affected by treatment with 1α,25(OH)2D3 alone, but when added simultaneously with IL-1β the stimulation by IL-1β was reduced from expected levels by up to 50%. In contrast, 1α,25(OH)2D3 had a slight stimulatory effect on basal production of MMPs 1 and 3 by monolayer cultures of HACs, but stimulation of MMP-1 by IL-1β was not affected by the simultaneous addition of 1α,25(OH)2D3 whilst MMP-3 production was enhanced (Table 1). The production of PGE2 by RSFs was unaffected by 1α,25(OH)2D3 addition, but when added concomitantly with IL-1β the expected IL-1 β-stimulated increase was reduced to almost basal levels. In contrast, IL-1β stimulation of PGE2 in HACs was not affected by the simultaneous addition of 1α,25(OH)2D3 (Table 2). Pretreatment of RSFs with 1α,25(OH)2D3 for 1 h made no significant difference to IL-1β-induced stimulation of PGE2, but incubation for 16 h suppressed the expected increase in PGE2 to control values. This effect was also noted when 1α,25(OH)2D3 was removed after the 16h and the IL-1 added alone. Thus it appears that 1α,25(OH)2D3 does not interfere with the IL-1β receptor, but reduces the capacity of RSFs to elaborate PGE2 after IL-1β induction.
Cells within the rheumatoid lesion which expressed VDR were fibroblasts, macrophages, lymphocytes and endothelial cells. These cells are thought to be involved in the degradative processes associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), thus providing evidence of a functional role of 1α,25(OH)2D3 in RA. MMPs may play important roles in the chondrolytic processes of the rheumatoid lesion and are known to be produced by both fibroblasts and chondrocytes. The 1α,25(OH)2D3 had little effect on basal MMP production by RSFs, although more pronounced differences were noted when IL-1β-stimulated cells were treated with 1α,25(OH)2D3, with the RSF and HAC showing quite disparate responses. These opposite effects may be relevant to the processes of joint destruction, especially cartilage loss, as the ability of 1α,25(OH)2D3 to potentiate MMP-1 and MMP-3 expression by 'activated' chondrocytes might facilitate intrinsic cartilage chondrolysis in vivo. By contrast, the MMP-suppressive effects observed for 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment of 'activated' synovial fibroblasts might reduce extrinsic chondrolysis and also matrix degradation within the synovial tissue. Prostaglandins have a role in the immune response and inflammatory processes associated with RA. The 1α,25(OH)2D3 had little effect on basal PGE2 production by RSF, but the enhanced PGE2 production observed following IL-1β stimulation of these cells was markedly suppressed by the concomitant addition of 1α,25(OH)2D3. As with MMP production, there are disparate effects of 1α,25(OH)2D3 on IL-1β stimulated PGE2 production by the two cell types; 1α,25(OH)2D3 added concomitantly with IL-1β had no effect on PGE2 production by HACs. In summary, the presence of VDRs in the rheumatoid lesion demonstrates that 1α,25(OH)2D3 may have a functional role in the joint disease process. 1α,25(OH)2D3 does not appear to directly affect MMP or PGE2 production but does modulate cytokine-induced production.
Comparative effects of 1 α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1 α,25D3) on interleukin (IL)-1-stimulated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-3 production by rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts and human articular chondrocytes in vivo
Data given are normalized relative to control values and are expressed ± SEM for three cultures of each cell type.
Comparative effects of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25D3) on Interleukin (IL)-1-stimulated prostaglandin E2 production by rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts and human articular chondrocyte in vivo
Data given are normalized relative to control values and are expressed ± SEM for three cultures of each cell type.
PMCID: PMC17774  PMID: 11056661
1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3; matrix metalloproteinase; prostaglandin E2; rheumatoid arthritis
18.  Significance of semaphorin-3A and MMP-14 protein expression in non-small cell lung cancer 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(5):1395-1400.
Semaphorin-3A is a chemorepellent guidance protein that is crucial in regulating the tumor microenvironment. MMP-14, a membrane-anchored matrix metalloproteinase, is closely associated with extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and cell migration in the progression of cancer metastasis. In the present study, the correlation between the expression levels of semaphorin-3A and MMP-14, and their subsequent prognostic significance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), was investigated. The expression of semaphorin-3A and MMP-14 protein levels was analyzed in 94 cases of NSCLC tissues and in 80 cases of normal lung tissues, using immunohistochemistry (IHC). Correlation and survival analysis were used to further investigate their association and prognostic value. The results revealed that the NSCLC tissues exhibited a lower expression of semaphorin-3A and a higher expression of MMP-14 than in the control lung tissues. The downregulation of semaphorin-3A and upregulation of MMP-14 may promote pleural invasion, lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion and proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression. The expression of semaphorin-3A was correlated with the maximum diameter of tumor. There was a negative correlation between the protein expression levels of semaphorin-3A and MMP-14 in NSCLC tissues. Furthermore, we identified that the patients with lower expression of semaphorin-3A and a higher expression of MMP-14 had worse disease prognosis. The data suggest that lower expression of semaphorin-3A and a higher expression of MMP-14 may promote occurrence and development in NSCLC and that the combined detection of semaphorin-3A and MMP-14 protein may be a helpful tool in predicting the prognosis of NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3997704  PMID: 24765144
NSCLC; semaphorin-3A; MMP-14; biomarker; prognosis
19.  Detection of Functional Matrix Metalloproteinases by Zymography 
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-containing endopeptidases. They degrade proteins by cleavage of peptide bonds. More than twenty MMPs have been identified and are separated into six groups based on their structure and substrate specificity (collagenases, gelatinases, membrane type [MT-MMP], stromelysins, matrilysins, and others). MMPs play a critical role in cell invasion, cartilage degradation, tissue remodeling, wound healing, and embryogenesis. They therefore participate in both normal processes and in the pathogenesis of many diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease1-6. Here, we will focus on MMP-2 (gelatinase A, type IV collagenase), a widely expressed MMP. We will demonstrate how to detect MMP-2 in cell culture supernatants by zymography, a commonly used, simple, and yet very sensitive technique first described in 1980 by C. Heussen and E.B. Dowdle7-10. This technique is semi-quantitative, it can therefore be used to determine MMP levels in test samples when known concentrations of recombinant MMP are loaded on the same gel11.
Solutions containing MMPs (e.g. cell culture supernatants, urine, or serum) are loaded onto a polyacrylamide gel containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS; to linearize the proteins) and gelatin (substrate for MMP-2). The sample buffer is designed to increase sample viscosity (to facilitate gel loading), provide a tracking dye (bromophenol blue; to monitor sample migration), provide denaturing molecules (to linearize proteins), and control the pH of the sample. Proteins are then allowed to migrate under an electric current in a running buffer designed to provide a constant migration rate. The distance of migration is inversely correlated with the molecular weight of the protein (small proteins move faster through the gel than large proteins do and therefore migrate further down the gel). After migration, the gel is placed in a renaturing buffer to allow proteins to regain their tertiary structure, necessary for enzymatic activity. The gel is then placed in a developing buffer designed to allow the protease to digest its substrate. The developing buffer also contains p-aminophenylmercuric acetate (APMA) to activate the non-proteolytic pro-MMPs into active MMPs. The next step consists of staining the substrate (gelatin in our example). After washing the excess dye off the gel, areas of protease digestion appear as clear bands. The clearer the band, the more concentrated the protease it contains. Band staining intensity can then be determined by densitometry, using a software such as ImageJ, allowing for sample comparison.
PMCID: PMC3159606  PMID: 21085107
20.  Co-culture of human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells and human dermal fibroblasts enhances the production of matrix metalloproteinases 1, 2 and 3 in fibroblasts. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;71(5):1039-1045.
No measurable amounts of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were produced by human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines MCF-7 and BT-20 in culture. When MCF-7 cells were co-cultured with human dermal fibroblasts enhanced production of precursors of MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase), MMP-2 (gelatinase A), MMP-3 (stromelysin 1) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase type 1 (TIMP-1) was observed. Immunohistochemical studies indicated that these pro-MMPs originated primarily from the fibroblasts, suggesting that MCF-7 cells have a stimulatory effect on stromal cells to produce at least three pro-MMPs and TIMP-1. BT-20 cells also enhanced the production of pro-MMP-2 and TIMP-1 in the dermal fibroblasts, but not of pro-MMP-1 and pro-MMP-3. Normal mammary epithelial cells promoted only TIMP-1 production. To investigate further the stimulatory factors from MCF-7 cells, the conditioned medium and the cell membrane were prepared and examined. The cell membrane fraction enhanced the production of pro-MMP-1 and -3 and TIMP-1, but not of pro-MMP-2. The conditioned medium, on the other hand, augmented the production of all four proteins in the fibroblasts. These observations suggest that breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells in culture produce both soluble and membrane-bound factor(s) which stimulate the production of pro-MMPs and TIMP-1 in neighbouring stromal cells, but the factor(s) released into the medium and that associated with cell membranes are probably different. Such communication between the normal and malignant cell types may, in part, assist the cancer cells to invade and metastasise.
PMCID: PMC2033797  PMID: 7734296
21.  Rheumatoid synovial endothelial cells secrete decreased levels of tissue inhibitor of MMP (TIMP1) 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1998;57(3):158-161.
OBJECTIVES—Angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) is a major component of the inflammatory pannus in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) secretion by microvascular endothelial cells is an essential step in angiogenesis. The secretion of MMP1, MMP2, MMP9, and TIMP1 by human microvascular endothelial cells derived from RA synovium (RASE) to normal synovium (NSE) and neonatal foreskin (FSE) was compared.
METHODS—Confluent monolayers of endothelial cells in basal medium were pre-incubated for 24 hours in the presence or absence of phorbol myristate acetate (PMA, 100 ng/ml). MMP1 activity was measured using a spectrophotometric assay and western blotting. MMP2 and MMP9 were measured using zymography. TIMP1 was measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and western blotting.
RESULTS—There was little difference between the amounts of MMP2 secreted by any of the cell lines. In response to PMA both synovial cell types showed a significantly higher MMP1 and MMP9 activity compared with FSE, although there was no difference between RASE and NSE. Tumour necrosis factor α had minimal effect on MMP activity. There was a striking decrease in the amount of TIMP1 secreted by RASE compared with normal synovium.
CONCLUSIONS—As overall MMP activity is a balance between the amount of MMP and TIMP1 present, the low levels of TIMP1 produced by RASE would shift the balance in favour of increased MMP activity by these cells. This is likely to contribute to the angiogenic potential of RASE.

 Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis; endothelial cells; matrix metalloproteinase; tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases
PMCID: PMC1752558  PMID: 9640131
22.  MMP1 and MMP7 as Potential Peripheral Blood Biomarkers in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e93.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic progressive fibrotic lung disease associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to determine whether there is a peripheral blood protein signature in IPF and whether components of this signature may serve as biomarkers for disease presence and progression.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed the concentrations of 49 proteins in the plasma of 74 patients with IPF and in the plasma of 53 control individuals. We identified a combinatorial signature of five proteins—MMP7, MMP1, MMP8, IGFBP1, and TNFRSF1A—that was sufficient to distinguish patients from controls with a sensitivity of 98.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 92.7%–100%) and specificity of 98.1% (95% CI 89.9%–100%). Increases in MMP1 and MMP7 were also observed in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from IPF patients. MMP7 and MMP1 plasma concentrations were not increased in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or sarcoidosis and distinguished IPF compared to subacute/chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a disease that may mimic IPF, with a sensitivity of 96.3% (95% CI 81.0%–100%) and specificity of 87.2% (95% CI 72.6%–95.7%). We verified our results in an independent validation cohort composed of patients with IPF, familial pulmonary fibrosis, subclinical interstitial lung disease (ILD), as well as with control individuals. MMP7 and MMP1 concentrations were significantly higher in IPF patients compared to controls in this cohort. Furthermore, MMP7 concentrations were elevated in patients with subclinical ILD and negatively correlated with percent predicted forced vital capacity (FVC%) and percent predicted carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DLCO%).
Our experiments provide the first evidence for a peripheral blood protein signature in IPF to our knowledge. The two main components of this signature, MMP7 and MMP1, are overexpressed in the lung microenvironment and distinguish IPF from other chronic lung diseases. Additionally, increased MMP7 concentration may be indicative of asymptomatic ILD and reflect disease progression.
Naftali Kaminski and colleagues find increased levels of specific proteins in the bloodstream of individuals with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and suggest that these proteins may ultimately provide a biomarker for the disease.
Editors' Summary
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a serious disease in which the lungs become progressively scarred or thickened for unknown reasons. In healthy people, air is taken in through the mouth or nose and travels down the windpipe into tubes in the lungs called the airways. Each airway has many small branches that end in alveoli, tiny air sacs with thin walls that are surrounded by small blood vessels called capillaries. When air reaches the alveoli, the oxygen in it passes into the bloodstream and is taken to the organs of the body to keep them working. In IPF, the alveoli and the space around them (the “interstitial” area) gradually become scarred and thickened, which stops oxygen's movement into the bloodstream. When only small areas of the lung are scarred, IPF may cause no symptoms. But, as more of the lung becomes damaged, IPF eventually causes breathlessness, even when resting. There is no effective treatment for IPF, although steroids and drugs that suppress the body's immune system are often tried in an attempt to slow its progression. On average, half of the people with IPF die within three years of diagnosis, often from respiratory or heart failure.
Why Was This Study Done?
It can be difficult to diagnose IPF—there are many lung diseases with similar symptoms, including numerous other interstitial lung diseases—and currently, physicians can only follow the progression of IPF by repeatedly testing their patients' lung function or by doing multiple chest X-rays. If proteins could be identified whose level in blood indicated disease activity (so-called “peripheral blood biomarkers”), it would be easier to diagnose and monitor patients. In addition, the identification of such biomarkers might suggest new drug targets for the treatment of IPF. In this study, the researchers look for peripheral blood biomarkers in IPF by using a “multiplex analysis” system to measure the level of several proteins in patient blood samples simultaneously.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured the levels of 49 plasma proteins (plasma is the fluid part of blood) in 74 patients with IPF and 53 healthy people (controls) and used a technique called “recursive partitioning” to define a five-protein signature that distinguished patients from unaffected study participants (controls). Matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7) and MMP1—the two plasma proteins whose levels were most increased in patients with IPF compared to controls—were key components of this signature. Concentrations of MMP7 and MMP1 were higher in bronchoalveolar lavage samples (fluid obtained by washing out the lungs with saline) and in lung tissue samples from patients with IPF than in similar samples taken from healthy individuals. Plasma concentrations of MMP7 and MMP1 were significantly higher in patients with IPF than in patients with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an interstitial lung disease that mimics IPF, but not increased in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or sarcoidosis, two other lung diseases. In an independent validation group, patients with IPF and familial pulmonary fibrosis had increased plasma concentrations of MMP7 and MMP1 that correlated with the severity of their disease. In addition, MMP7 concentrations were raised in close relatives of people with familial pulmonary fibrosis who had normal lung function tests but some lung scarring.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide evidence for a protein signature in the blood for IPF and suggest MMP1 and MMP7 may be useful as biomarkers for IPF. These two matrix metalloproteinases have previously been suggested to be involved in the development of IPF. However, additional work is probably needed to confirm that increased plasma concentrations MMP7 and MMP1 are specific for IPF, since it may be that these markers will not distinguish IPF from other interstitial lung diseases.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (in English and Spanish) and on pulmonary fibrosis
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the British Lung Foundation also provide information on IPF for patients and relatives
Some of the researchers involved in this study provide more details about what might go wrong in IPF in a recent PLoS Medicine article
PMCID: PMC2346504  PMID: 18447576
23.  Ovarian matrix metalloproteinases are differentially regulated during the estrous cycle but not during short photoperiod induced regression in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) 
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are implicated as mediators for ovarian remodeling events, and are involved with ovarian recrudescence during seasonal breeding cycles in Siberian hamsters. However, involvement of these proteases as the photoinhibited ovary undergoes atrophy and regression had not been assessed. We hypothesized that 1) MMPs and their tissue inhibitors, the TIMPs would be present and differentially regulated during the normal estrous cycle in Siberian hamsters, and that 2) MMP/TIMP mRNA and protein levels would increase as inhibitory photoperiod induced ovarian degeneration.
MMP-2, -9, -14 and TIMP-1 and -2 mRNA and protein were examined in the stages of estrous (proestrus [P], estrus [E], diestrus I [DI], and diestrus II [DII]) in Siberian hamsters, as well as after exposure to 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks of inhibitory short photoperiod (SD).
MMP-9 exhibited a 1.6-1.8 fold decrease in mRNA expression in DII (p < 0.05), while all other MMPs and TIMPs tested showed no significant difference in mRNA expression in the estrous cycle. Extent of immunostaining for MMP-2 and -9 peaked in P and E then significantly declined in DI and DII (p < 0.05). Extent of immunostaining for MMP-14, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 was significantly more abundant in P, E, and DI than in DII (p < 0.05). Localization of the MMPs and TIMPs had subtle differences, but immunostaining was predominant in granulosa and theca cells, with significant differences noted in staining intensity between preantral follicles, antral follicles, corpora lutea, and stroma classifications. No significant changes were observed in MMP and TIMP mRNA or extent of protein immunostaining with exposure to 3, 6, 9, or 12 weeks of SD, however protein was present and was localized to follicular and luteal steroidogenic cells.
Although MMPs appear to be involved in the normal ovarian estrus cycle at the protein level in hamsters, those examined in the present study are unlikely to be key players in the slow atrophy of tissue as seen in Siberian hamster ovarian regression.
PMCID: PMC2913988  PMID: 20579366
24.  Matrix metalloproteinases in the restorative proctocolectomy pouch of pediatric ulcerative colitis 
AIM: To investigate matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in pouch mucosa of pediatric onset ulcerative colitis (UC).
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 28 patients with pediatric onset UC underwent ileal pouch biopsy 13 years (median) after proctocolectomy. Expression of MMPs-3, -7, -8, -9, -12 and -26 and TIMPs-1, -2 and -3 in samples was examined using immunohistochemichal methods, and another biopsy was used to evaluate the grade of histological inflammation. Two investigators independently graded the immunohistochemical specimens in a semiquantitative fashion, using a scale marking staining intensity as follows: 0 = less than 20 positive cells; 1 = 20-50 positive cells; 2 = 50-200 positive cells; 3 = over 20 positive cells. Fecal calprotectin and blood inflammatory markers [serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate] were determined during a follow-up visit to examine correlations between these markers and the expression of MMPs and TIMPs.
RESULTS: Of the 28 patients with pediatric onset UC, nine had not experienced pouchitis, whereas thirteen reported a single episode, and six had recurrent pouchitis (≥ 4 episodes). At the time of the study, six patients required metronidazole. In all of the others, the most recent episode of pouchitis had occurred over one month earlier, and none were on antibiotics. Only four samples depicted no sign of inflammation, and these were all from patients who had not had pouchitis. Two samples were too small to determine the grade of inflammation, but both had suffered pouchitis, the other recurrent. No sample depicted signs of colonic metaplasia. Most pouch samples showed expression of epithelial (e) and stromal (s) MMP-3 (e, n = 22; s, n = 20), MMP-7 (e, n = 28; s, n = 27), MMP-12 (e, n = 20; s, n =24), TIMP-2 (e, n = 23; s, n = 23) and MMP-3 (e, n = 23; s, n = 28) but MMP-8 (e, n = 0; s, n = 1), MMP-9 (e, n = 0; s, n = 9) and MMP-26 (e, n = 0; s, n = 3) and TIMP-1 (n = 0, both) were lacking. In samples with low grade of inflammatory activity, the epithelial MMP-3 and MMP-7 expression was increased (r = -0.614 and r = -0.472, respectively, P < 0.05 in both). MMPs and TIMPs did not correlate with the markers of inflammation, fecal calprotectin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or CRP, with the exception of patients with low fecal calprotectin (< 100 μg/g) in whom a higher expression of epithelial MMP-7 was found no differences in MMP- or TIMP-profiles were seen in patients with a history of pouchitis compared to ones with no such episodes. Anastomosis with either straight ileoanal anastomosis or ileoanal anastomosis with J-pouch did depict differences in MMP- or TIMP-expression.
CONCLUSION: The expression of MMPs pediatric UC pouch in the long-term shares characteristics with inflammatory bowel disease, but inflammation cannot be classified as a reactivation of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3420000  PMID: 22912554
Children; Matrix metalloproteinase 3; Tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 3; Matrix metalloproteinase 7; Pouchitis; Ulcerative colitis
25.  Changes in the expression of MMP2, MMP9, and ColIV in stromal cells in oral squamous tongue cell carcinoma: relationships and prognostic implications 
Type IV collagen (ColIV) is the most important scaffold for the basement membrane (BM) proteins, and plays an important role in regulating and limiting tumour invasion and metastasis.
Here, we observed the changes in morphology and distribution of type IV collagen (ColIV) in the basement membrane (BM) surrounding nests of carcinoma in 48 patients with oral tongue squamous cell (OTSCC). We examined the correlation between the expressions of ColIV, MMP-2 and MMP-9 and the prognosis of OTSCC patients. The intensity and patterns of expression were assessed immunohistochemically using anti-human mouse monoclonal MMP-2, MMP-9 and Col IV antibodies. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the prognostic correlations of ColIV, MMP-2, and MMP-9 levels.
MMP-2 and MMP-9 expressions in OTSCC were higher than those in normal oral mucosa and dysplastic oral mucosa group(MMP-2 iOD: 66.40 ± 24.20, 134.69 ± 37.08, and 357.79 ± 116.78; MMP-9 iOD: 88.05 ± 23.85, 307.13 ± 93.22, and 791.31 ± 260.52; in normal, dysplastic oral mucosa, and tumour tissues, respectively, P < 0.01); however, ColIV immunoreactivity was lower (ColIV iOD: 406.87 ± 62.95, 247.83 ± 42.30, and 151.92 ± 38.17 in normal, dysplastic oral mucosa, and tumour tissues, respectively, P < 0.01). High tumour and stromal MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression was significantly associated with positive lymph node status. Col IV expression was associated with positive lymph node status (P < 0.05), and have negatively correlated with the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Overall survival was significantly shorter in patients with high tumour and stromal MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression, and tended to be shorter in patients with low ColIV expression.
Degradation of ColIV was closely related to increased MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression; MMP-9 have more important function than MMP-2 during the cancer development. Monitoring changes in the expression of ColIV, MMP-2, and MMP-9 may be a useful technique for assessing prognoses in OTSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3490717  PMID: 23107277
Oral tongue squamous carcinoma; MMPs; ColIV; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis

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