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1.  Disruptions of occludin and claudin-5 in brain endothelial cells in vitro and in brains of mice with acute liver failure 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2009;50(6):1914-1923.
Brain edema in acute liver failure (ALF) remains lethal. The role of vasogenic mechanisms of brain edema has not been explored. We previously demonstrated that matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) contributes to the pathogenesis of brain edema. Here, we show that MMP-9 mediates disruptions in tight junction proteins in vitro and in brains of mice with ALF. We transfected murine brain endothelial cells with MMP-9 cDNA using pc DNA3.1 (+)/Myc-His A expression vector. Tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP-1) cDNA transfection or GM6001 was used to inhibit MMP-9. ALF was induced in mice with azoxymethane. Endogenous overexpression of MMP-9 in brain endothelial cells resulted in significant degradation of tight junction proteins occludin and claudin-5. The alterations in tight junction proteins correlated with increased permeability to FITC-dextran molecules. The degradation of tight junction proteins and the increased permeability were reversed by TIMP-1 and GM6001. Similar results were found when MMP-9 was exogenously added to brain EC. We also found that tight junction proteins degradation was reversed with GM6001 in brains of mice with ALF.
Tight junction proteins are significantly perturbed in brains of mice with ALF. These data corroborate the important role of MMP-9 in the vasogenic mechanism of brain edema in ALF.
PMCID: PMC2925168  PMID: 19821483
acute liver failure; blood brain barrier permeability
2.  Neisseria meningitidis Induces Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cell Detachment from the Matrix and Cleavage of Occludin: A Role for MMP-8 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(4):e1000874.
Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a hallmark event in the pathophysiology of bacterial meningitis. Several inflammatory mediators, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), nitric oxide and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), contribute to this disruption. Here we show that infection of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) with Neisseria meningitidis induced an increase of permeability at prolonged time of infection. This was paralleled by an increase in MMP-8 activity in supernatants collected from infected cells. A detailed analysis revealed that MMP-8 was involved in the proteolytic cleavage of the tight junction protein occludin, resulting in its disappearance from the cell periphery and cleavage to a lower-sized 50-kDa protein in infected HBMEC. Abrogation of MMP-8 activity by specific inhibitors as well as transfection with MMP-8 siRNA abolished production of the cleavage fragment and occludin remained attached to the cell periphery. In addition, MMP-8 affected cell adherence to the underlying matrix. A similar temporal relationship was observed for MMP activity and cell detachment. Injury of the HBMEC monolayer suggested the requirement of direct cell contact because no detachment was observed when bacteria were placed above a transwell membrane or when bacterial supernatant was directly added to cells. Inhibition of MMP-8 partially prevented detachment of infected HBMEC and restored BBB permeability. Together, we established that MMP-8 activity plays a crucial role in disassembly of cell junction components and cell adhesion during meningococcal infection.
Author Summary
A crucial step in the pathogenesis of bacterial meningitis is the disturbance of cerebral microvascular endothelial function, resulting in blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in BBB damage in bacterial meningitis in several studies. MMPs are a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases that catalyze the proteolysis of extracellular matrix proteins, but can also cleave a range of other molecules, including cell adhesion molecules. In this study we showed that brain endothelial cells produced MMPs—in particular MMP-8—upon infection with Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium that causes meningitis and septic shock. We found that MMP-8 was then involved in disruption of the tight junction protein occludin. In addition to the effect of MMP-8 on the tight junction component, MMP-8 activity also accounted for brain endothelial cell detachment that occurred during prolonged time of infection with N. meningitidis. When we inhibited MMP-8 activity, occludin disruption was completely abolished and cell detachment could be partially prevented, which resulted in restored BBB permeability. Our data reveal a molecular mechanism of cellular dysfunction during meningococcal meningitis that enhances our understanding how MMPs affect cerebral endothelial function and that can aid in our understanding and prevention of this disease.
PMCID: PMC2861698  PMID: 20442866
3.  Bexarotene Reduces Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability in Cerebral Ischemia-Reperfusion Injured Rats 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122744.
Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) over-expression disrupts the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in the ischemic brain. The retinoid X receptor agonist bexarotene suppresses MMP-9 expression in endothelial cells and displays neuroprotective effects. Therefore, we hypothesized that bexarotene may have a beneficial effect on I/R-induced BBB dysfunction.
A total of 180 rats were randomized into three groups (n = 60 each): (i) a sham-operation group, (ii) a cerebral ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) group, and (iii) an I/R+bexarotene group. Brain water content was measured by the dry wet weight method. BBB permeability was analyzed by Evans Blue staining and the magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent Omniscan. MMP-9 mRNA expression, protein expression, and activity were assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, and gelatin zymography, respectively. Apolipoprotein E (apoE), claudin-5, and occludin expression were analyzed by Western blotting.
After 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h post-I/R, several effects were observed with bexarotene administration: (i) brain water content and BBB permeability were significantly reduced; (ii) MMP-9 mRNA and protein expression as well as activity were significantly decreased; (iii) claudin-5 and occludin expression were significantly increased; and (iv) apoE expression was significantly increased.
Bexarotene decreases BBB permeability in rats with cerebral I/R injury. This effect may be due in part to bexarotene’s upregulation of apoE expression, which has been previously shown to reduce BBB permeability through suppressing MMP-9-mediated degradation of the tight junction proteins claudin-5 and occludin. This work offers insight to aid future development of therapeutic agents for cerebral I/R injury in human patients.
PMCID: PMC4386818  PMID: 25844636
4.  Estrogen Decrease in Tight Junctional Resistance Involves Matrix-Metalloproteinase-7-Mediated Remodeling of Occludin 
Endocrinology  2006;148(1):218-231.
Estrogen modulates tight junctional resistance through estrogen receptor-α-mediated remodeling of occludin. The objective of the study was to understand the mechanisms involved. Experiments using human normal vaginal-cervical epithelial cells showed that human normal vaginal-cervical epithelial cells secrete constitutively matrix-metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) into the luminal solution and that MMP-7 is necessary and sufficient to produce estrogen decrease of tight junctional resistance and remodeling of occludin. Treatment with estrogen stimulated activation of the pro-MMP-7 intracellularly and augmented secretion of the activated MMP-7 form. Steady-state levels of MMP-7 mRNA and protein were not affected by estrogen. Estrogen modulated phosphorylation of the MMP-7, but the changes were most likely secondary to changes in cellular MMP-7 mass. Estrogen increased coimmunoreactivity of MMP-7 with the Golgi protein GPP130. Tunicamycin and brefeldin-A had no effect on cellular MMP-7 but monensin (inhibitor of Golgi traffic) blocked estrogen effects, suggesting estrogen site of action is at the Golgi system. Estrogen increased generalized secretory activity, including of luminal exocytosis of polycarbohydrates. However, estrogen increased coimmunoreactivity of MMP-7 with synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa in apical membranes, suggesting soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion factor attachment protein receptor-facilitated exocytosis of MMP-7. Treatment with the vesicular-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A1 inhibited activation of MMP-7. These data suggest that estrogen up-regulates activation of the MMP-7 intracellularly, at the level of Golgi, and augments secretion of activated MMP-7 through soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion factor attachment protein receptor-dependent exocytosis. On the other hand, estrogen acidification of the luminal solution would tend to alkalinize exocytotic vesicles and may lead to decreased activation of the MMP-7. These mechanisms acting in concert could be important for regulation and control of estrogen modulation of paracellular permeability in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2398688  PMID: 17038551
5.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 and -9 Secreted by Leukemic Cells Increase the Permeability of Blood-Brain Barrier by Disrupting Tight Junction Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e20599.
Central nervous system (CNS) involvement remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in acute leukemia, the mechanisms of leukemic cell infiltration into the CNS have not yet been elucidated. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) makes CNS become a refugee to leukemic cells and serves as a resource of cells that seed extraneural sites. How can the leukemic cells disrupt this barrier and invasive the CNS, even if many of the currently available chemotherapies can not cross the BBB? Tight junction in endothelial cells occupies a central role in the function of the BBB. Except the well known role of degrading extracellular matrix in metastasis of cancer cells, here we show matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9, secreted by leukemic cells, mediate the BBB opening by disrupting tight junction proteins in the CNS leukemia. We demonstrated that leukemic cells impaired tight junction proteins ZO-1, claudin-5 and occludin resulting in increased permeability of the BBB. However, these alterations reduced when MMP-2 and -9 activities were inhibited by RNA interference strategy or by MMP inhibitor GM6001 in an in vitro BBB model. We also found that the disruption of the BBB in company with the down-regulation of ZO-1, claudin-5 and occludin and the up-regulation of MMP-2 and -9 in mouse brain tissues with leukemic cell infiltration by confocal imaging and the assay of in situ gelatin zymography. Besides, GM6001 protected all mice against CNS leukemia. Our findings suggest that the degradation of tight junction proteins ZO-1, claudin-5 and occludin by MMP-2 and -9 secreted by leukemic cells constitutes an important mechanism in the BBB breakdown which contributes to the invasion of leukemic cells to the CNS in acute leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3157343  PMID: 21857898
6.  Rat pancreatic stellate cells secrete matrix metalloproteinases: implications for extracellular matrix turnover 
Gut  2003;52(2):275-282.
Background: Pancreatic fibrosis is a characteristic feature of chronic pancreatic injury and is thought to result from a change in the balance between synthesis and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Recent studies suggest that activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play a central role in pancreatic fibrogenesis via increased synthesis of ECM proteins. However, the role of these cells in ECM protein degradation has not been fully elucidated.
Aims: To determine: (i) whether PSCs secrete matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) and, if so (ii) whether MMP and TIMP secretion by PSCs is altered in response to known PSC activating factors such as tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α), transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), ethanol, and acetaldehyde.
Methods: Cultured rat PSCs (n=3–5 separate cell preparations) were incubated at 37°C for 24 hours with serum free culture medium containing TNF-α (5–25 U/ml), TGF-β1 (0.5–1 ng/ml), IL-6 (0.001–10 ng/ml), ethanol (10–50 mM), or acetaldehyde (150–200 μM), or no additions (controls). Medium from control cells was examined for the presence of MMPs by zymography using a 10% polyacrylamide-0.1% gelatin gel. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to examine gene expression of MMP9 and the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases TIMP1 and TIMP2. Western blotting was used to identify a specific MMP, MMP2 (a gelatinase that digests basement membrane collagen and the dominant MMP observed on zymography) and a specific TIMP, TIMP2. Reverse zymography was used to examine functional TIMPs in PSC secretions. The effect of TNF-α, TGF-β1, and IL-6 on MMP2 secretion was assessed by densitometry of western blots. The effect of ethanol and acetaldehyde on MMP2 and TIMP2 secretion was also assessed by this method.
Results: Zymography revealed that PSCs secrete a number of MMPs including proteinases with molecular weights consistent with MMP2, MMP9, and MMP13. RT-PCR demonstrated the presence of mRNA for metalloproteinase inhibitors TIMP1 and TIMP2 in PSCs while reverse zymography revealed the presence of functional TIMP2 in PSC secretions. MMP2 secretion by PSCs was significantly increased by TGF-β1 and IL-6, but was not affected by TNF-α. Ethanol and acetaldehyde induced secretion of both MMP2 and TIMP2 by PSCs.
Conclusions: Pancreatic stellate cells have the capacity to synthesise a number of matrix metalloproteinases, including MMP2, MMP9, and MMP13 and their inhibitors TIMP1 and TIMP2. MMP2 secretion by PSCs is significantly increased on exposure to the proinflammatory cytokines TGF-β1 and IL-6. Both ethanol and its metabolite acetaldehyde increase MMP2 as well as TIMP2 secretion by PSCs.
Implication: The role of pancreatic stellate cells in extracellular matrix formation and fibrogenesis may be related to their capacity to regulate the degradation as well as the synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins.
PMCID: PMC1774949  PMID: 12524413
7.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Leads to Claudin-5 Degradation via the NF-κB Pathway in BALB/c Mice with Eosinophilic Meningoencephalitis Caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e53370.
The epithelial barrier regulates the movement of ions, macromolecules, immune cells and pathogens. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 in the degradation of tight junction protein during infection with rat nematode lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The results showed that phosphorylation of IκB and NF-κB was increased in mice with eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Treatment with MG132 reduced the phosphorylation of NF-κB and the activity of MMP-9, indicating upregulation of MMP-9 through the NF-κB signaling pathway. Claudin-5 was reduced in the brain but elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), implying that A. cantonensis infection caused tight junction breakdown and led to claudin-5 release into the CSF. Degradation of claudin-5 coincided with alteration of the blood-CSF barrier permeability and treatment with the MMP inhibitor GM6001 attenuated the degradation of claudin-5. These results suggested that degradation of claudin-5 was caused by MMP-9 in angiostrongyliasis meningoencephalitis. Claudin-5 could be used for the pathophysiologic evaluation of the blood-CSF barrier breakdown and tight junction disruption after infection with A. cantonensis.
PMCID: PMC3591436  PMID: 23505411
8.  Matrix metalloproteinase-2-mediated occludin degradation and caveolin-1-mediated claudin-5 redistribution contribute to blood brain barrier damage in early ischemic stroke stage 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(9):3044-3057.
Blood brain barrier (BBB) disruption occurs early enough to be within the thrombolytic time window, and this early ischemic BBB damage is closely associated with hemorrhagic transformation and thus emerging as a promising target for reducing the hemorrhagic complications of thrombolytic stroke therapy. However, the mechanisms underlying early ischemic BBB damage remain poorly understood. Here we investigated the early molecular events of ischemic BBB damage using in vitro oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and in vivo rat middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) models. Exposure of bEND3 monolayer to OGD for 2 h significantly increased its permeability to FITC-labeled dextran, and promoted the secretion of metalloproteinase-2 and 9 (MMP-2/9) and cytosolic translocation of caveolin-1 (Cav-1). This same OGD treatment also led to rapid degradation of tight junction protein occludin and dissociation of claudin-5 from the cytoskeleton, which contributed to OGD-induced endothelial barrier disruption. Using selective MMP-2/9 inhibitor SB-3CT or their neutralizing antibodies or Cav-1 siRNA, we found that MMP-2 was the major enzyme mediating OGD-induced occludin degradation, while Cav-1 was responsible for claudin-5 redistribution. The interaction between Cav-1 and claudin-5 was further confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation. Consistent with these in vitro findings, we observed fluorescence tracer extravasation, increased gelatinolytic activity and elevated interstitial MMP-2 levels in ischemic subcortical tissue after 2-h MCAO. Moreover, occludin protein loss and claudin-5 redistribution were detected in ischemic cerebromicrovessels. These data indicate that cerebral ischemia initiates two rapid parallel processes, MMP-2-mediated occludin degradation and Cav-1-mediated claudin-5 redistribution, to cause BBB disruption at early stroke stages relevant to acute thrombolysis.
PMCID: PMC3339570  PMID: 22378877
Cerebral ischemia; oxygen-glucose deprivation; blood brain barrier; matrix metalloproteinase; caveolin-1; tight junction proteins
9.  Exposure to vehicle emissions results in altered blood brain barrier permeability and expression of matrix metalloproteinases and tight junction proteins in mice 
Traffic-generated air pollution-exposure is associated with adverse effects in the central nervous system (CNS) in both human exposures and animal models, including neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. While alterations in the blood brain barrier (BBB) have been implicated as a potential mechanism of air pollution-induced CNS pathologies, pathways involved have not been elucidated.
To determine whether inhalation exposure to mixed vehicle exhaust (MVE) mediates alterations in BBB permeability, activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) -2 and −9, and altered tight junction (TJ) protein expression.
Apolipoprotein (Apo) E−/− and C57Bl6 mice were exposed to either MVE (100 μg/m3 PM) or filtered air (FA) for 6 hr/day for 30 days and resulting BBB permeability, expression of ROS, TJ proteins, markers of neuroinflammation, and MMP activity were assessed. Serum from study mice was applied to an in vitro BBB co-culture model and resulting alterations in transport and permeability were quantified.
MVE-exposed Apo E−/− mice showed increased BBB permeability, elevated ROS and increased MMP-2 and −9 activity, compared to FA controls. Additionally, cerebral vessels from MVE-exposed mice expressed decreased levels of TJ proteins, occludin and claudin-5, and increased levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and interleukin (IL)-1β in the parenchyma. Serum from MVE-exposed animals also resulted in increased in vitro BBB permeability and altered P-glycoprotein transport activity.
These data indicate that inhalation exposure to traffic-generated air pollutants promotes increased MMP activity and degradation of TJ proteins in the cerebral vasculature, resulting in altered BBB permeability and expression of neuroinflammatory markers.
PMCID: PMC3878624  PMID: 24344990
Air pollution; Blood brain barrier; Tight junction proteins; Matrix metalloproteinase; Neuroinflammation
10.  Neutrophils Compromise Retinal Pigment Epithelial Barrier Integrity 
We hypothesized that neutrophils and their secreted factors mediate breakdown of the integrity of the outer blood-retina-barrier by degrading the apical tight junctions of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The effect of activated neutrophils or neutrophil cell lysate on apparent permeability of bovine RPE-Choroid explants was evaluated by measuring [3H] mannitol flux in a modified Ussing chamber. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase- (MMP-) 9 in murine peritoneal neutrophils, and the effects of neutrophils on RPE tight-junction protein expression were assessed by confocal microscopy and western blot. Our results revealed that basolateral incubation of explants with neutrophils decreased occludin and ZO-1 expression at 1 and 3 hours and increased the permeability of bovine RPE-Choroid explants by >3-fold (P < .05). Similarly, basolateral incubation of explants with neutrophil lysate decreased ZO-1 expression at 1 and 3 hours (P < .05) and increased permeability of explants by 75%. Further, we found that neutrophils prominently express MMP-9 and that incubation of explants with neutrophils in the presence of anti-MMP-9 antibody inhibited the increase in permeability. These data suggest that neutrophil-derived MMP-9 may play an important role in disrupting the integrity of the outer blood-retina barrier.
PMCID: PMC2831460  PMID: 20204129
11.  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
12.  Diurnal Variation of Tight Junction Integrity Associates Inversely with Matrix Metalloproteinase Expression in Xenopus laevis Corneal Epithelium: Implications for Circadian Regulation of Homeostatic Surface Cell Desquamation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113810.
Background and Objectives
The corneal epithelium provides a protective barrier against pathogen entrance and abrasive forces, largely due to the intercellular junctional complexes between neighboring cells. After a prescribed duration at the corneal surface, tight junctions between squamous surface cells must be disrupted to enable them to desquamate as a component of the tissue homeostatic renewal. We hypothesize that matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) are secreted by corneal epithelial cells and cleave intercellular junctional proteins extracellularly at the epithelial surface. The purpose of this study was to examine the expression of specific MMPs and tight junction proteins during both the light and dark phases of the circadian cycle, and to assess their temporal and spatial relationships in the Xenopus laevis corneal epithelium.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Expression of MMP-2, tissue inhibitor of MMP-2 (TIMP-2), membrane type 1-MMP (MT1-MMP) and the tight junction proteins occludin and claudin-4 were examined by confocal double-label immunohistochemistry on corneas obtained from Xenopus frogs at different circadian times. Occludin and claudin-4 expression was generally uniformly intact on the surface corneal epithelial cell lateral membranes during the daytime, but was frequently disrupted in small clusters of cells at night. Concomitantly, MMP-2 expression was often elevated in a mosaic pattern at nighttime and associated with clusters of desquamating surface cells. The MMP-2 binding partners, TIMP-2 and MT1-MMP were also localized to surface corneal epithelial cells during both the light and dark phases, with TIMP-2 tending to be elevated during the daytime.
MMP-2 protein expression is elevated in a mosaic pattern in surface corneal epithelial cells during the nighttime in Xenopus laevis, and may play a role in homeostatic surface cell desquamation by disrupting intercellular junctional proteins. The sequence of MMP secretion and activation, tight junction protein cleavage, and subsequent surface cell desquamation and renewal may be orchestrated by nocturnal circadian signals.
PMCID: PMC4239109  PMID: 25412440
13.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Expression Is Enhanced in Renal Parietal Epithelial Cells of Zucker Diabetic Fatty Rats and Is Induced by Albumin in In Vitro Primary Parietal Cell Culture 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123276.
As a subfamily of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), gelatinases including MMP-2 and MMP-9 play an important role in remodeling and homeostasis of the extracellular matrix. However, conflicting results have been reported regarding their expression level and activity in the diabetic kidney. This study investigated whether and how MMP-9 expression and activity were changed in glomerular epithelial cells upon albumin overload. In situ zymography, immunostaining and Western blot for renal MMP gelatinolytic activity and MMP-9 protein expression were performed in Zucker lean and Zucker diabetic rats. Confocal microscopy revealed a focal increase in gelatinase activity and MMP-9 protein in the glomeruli of diabetic rats. Increased glomerular MMP-9 staining was mainly observed in hyperplastic parietal epithelial cells (PECs) expressing claudin-1 in the diabetic kidneys. Interestingly, increased parietal MMP-9 was often accompanied by decreased staining for podocyte markers (nephrin and podocalyxin) in the sclerotic area of affected glomeruli in diabetic rats. Additionally, urinary excretion of podocyte marker proteins was significantly increased in association with the levels of MMP-9 and albumin in the urine of diabetic animals. To evaluate the direct effect of albumin on expression and activity of MMP-9, primary cultured rat glomerular PECs were incubated with rat serum albumin (0.25 - 1 mg/ml) for 24 - 48 hrs. MMP-9 mRNA levels were significantly increased following albumin treatment. Meanwhile, albumin administration resulted in a dose-dependent increase in MMP-9 protein and activity in culture supernatants of PECs. Moreover, albumin activated p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in PECs. Inhibition of p44/42 MAPK suppressed albumin-induced MMP-9 secretion from glomerular PECs. Taken together, we have demonstrated that an up-regulation of MMP-9 in activated parietal epithelium is associated with a loss of adjacent podocytes in progressive diabetic nephropathy. Albumin overload may induce MMP-9 expression and secretion by PECs via the activation of p44/42 MAPK pathway.
PMCID: PMC4388686  PMID: 25849723
14.  Dexamethasone Ameliorates H2S-Induced Acute Lung Injury by Alleviating Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 and -9 Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94701.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is one of the fatal outcomes after exposure to high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) especially MMP-2 and MMP-9 are believed to be involved in the development of ALI by degrading the extracellular matrix (ECM) of blood-air barrier. However, the roles of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in H2S-induced ALI and the mechanisms of dexamethasone (DXM) in treating ALI in clinical practice are still largely unknown. The present work was aimed to investigate the roles of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in H2S-induced ALI and the protective effects of DXM. In our study, SD rats were exposed to H2S to establish the ALI model and in parallel, A549 cells were incubated with NaHS (a H2S donor) to establish cell model. The lung HE staining, immunohistochemisty, electron microscope assay and wet/dry ratio were used to identify the ALI induced by H2S, then the MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression in both rats and A549 cells were detected. Our results revealed that MMP-2 and MMP-9 were obviously increased in both mRNA and protein level after H2S exposure, and they could be inhibited by MMP inhibitor doxycycline (DOX) in rat model. Moreover, DXM significantly ameliorated the symptoms of H2S-induced ALI including alveolar edema, infiltration of inflammatory cells and the protein leakage in BAFL via up-regulating glucocorticoid receptor(GR) to mediate the suppression of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Furthermore, the protective effects of DXM in vivo and vitro study could be partially blocked by co-treated with GR antagonist mifepristone (MIF). Our results, taken together, demonstrated that MMP-2 and MMP-9 were involved in the development of H2S-induced ALI and DXM exerted protective effects by alleviating the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Therefore, MMP-2 and MMP-9 might represent novel pharmacological targets for the treatment of H2S and other hazard gases induced ALI.
PMCID: PMC3983216  PMID: 24722316
15.  The Mechanisms of Cerebral Vascular Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation by MMP-mediated Degradation of VEGFR-2 in Alcohol Ingestion 
Blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction caused by activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is a pathological feature in vascular/neurological disease. Here, we describe the mechanisms of BBB dysfunction and neuroinflammation as a result of MMP-3/9 activation and disruption of VEGF-A/VEGFR-2 interaction, impairing effective angiogenesis.
Methods and Results
We investigate the hypothesis in human brain endothelial cells and animal model of chronic alcohol ingestion. Proteome array analysis, zymography, immunofluorescence and Western blotting techniques detected the activation, expression and levels of MMP-3 and MMP-9. We found that degradation of VEGFR-2 and BBB proteins viz, occludin, claudin-5, and ZO-1 by MMP-3/9 causes rupture of capillary endothelium and BBB leakiness. Impairment of BBB integrity was demonstrated by increased permeability of dye tracers and Fluo-3/calcein-AM labeled monocytes adhesion or infiltration, and decrease in trans-endothelial electrical resistance. Alcohol-induced degradation of endothelial VEGFR-2 by MMP-3/9 led to a subsequent elevation of cellular/serum VEGF-A level. The decrease in VEGFR-2 with subsequent increase in VEGF-A level led to apoptosis and neuroinflammation via the activation of caspase-1 and IL-1β release. The use of MMPs, VEGFR-2 and caspase-1 inhibitors helped to dissect the underlying mechanisms.
Alcohol-induced MMPs activation is a key mechanism for dysfunction of BBB via degradation of VEGFR-2 protein and activation of caspase-1 or IL-1β release. Targeting VEGF-induced MMP-3/9 activation can be a novel preventive approach to vascular inflammatory disease in alcohol abuse.
PMCID: PMC3501346  PMID: 22402362
Alcohol; blood-brain barrier; vascular inflammation; VEGF/VEGFR-2; matrix metalloproteinase
16.  Activation of Protein Tyrosine Kinases and Matrix Metalloproteinases Causes Blood-Brain Barrier Injury: Novel Mechanism for Neurodegeneration Associated with Alcohol Abuse 
Glia  2008;56(1):78-88.
Blood-brain barrier (BBB) formed by brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) regulates the passage of molecules and leukocytes in and out of the brain. Activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and alteration of basement membrane (BM) associated with BBB injury were documented in stroke patients. While chronic alcoholism is a risk factor for developing stroke, underlying mechanisms are not well understood. We hypothesized that ethanol (EtOH)-induced protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) signaling resulted a loss of BBB integrity via MMPs activation and degradation of BM component, collagen IV. Treatment of BMVEC with EtOH or acetaldehyde (AA) for 2–48 hr increased MMP-1, -2 and -9 activities or decreased the levels of tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP-1, -2) in a PTK-dependent manner without affecting protein tyrosine phosphatase activity. Enhanced PTK activity after EtOH exposure correlated with increased phosphorylated proteins of selective receptor and non-receptor PTKs. Up-regulation of MMPs activities and protein contents paralleled a decrease in collagen IV content, and inhibitors of EtOH metabolism, MMP-2 and 9, or PTK reversed all these effects. Using human BMVEC assembled into BBB models, we found that EtOH/AA diminished barrier tightness, augmented permeability, and monocyte migration across the BBB via activation of PTKs and MMPs. These findings suggest that alcohol associated BBB injury could be mediated by MMPs via BM protein degradation and could serve as a co-morbidity factor for neurological disorders like stroke or neuroinflammation. Furthermore, our preliminary experiments indicated that human astrocytes secreted high levels of MMP-1 and 9 following exposure to EtOH, suggesting the role of BM protein degradation and BBB compromise as a result of glial activation by ethanol. These results provide better understanding of multifaceted effects of alcohol on the brain and could help develop new therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3391971  PMID: 17943953
Blood-brain barrier; brain endothelial cell; ethanol metabolism; matrix metalloproteinases; protein tyrosine kinase; protein tyrosine phosphatase
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.  Normobaric hyperoxia attenuates early blood-brain barrier disruption by inhibiting MMP-9-mediated occludin degradation in focal cerebral ischemia 
Journal of neurochemistry  2009;108(3):811-820.
Early blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption, resulting from excessive neurovascular proteolysis by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), is closely associated with hemorrhagic transformation events in ischemic stroke. We have shown that normobaric hyperoxia (NBO) treatment reduces MMP-9 increase in the ischemic brain. The aim of this study was to determine whether NBO could attenuate MMP-9-mediated early BBB disruption following ischemic stroke. Rats were exposed to NBO (95% O2) or normoxia (30% O2) during 90-min middle cerebral artery occlusion, followed by 3-hr reperfusion. NBO-treated rats showed significant reduction in Evan’s blue extravasation in the ischemic hemisphere compared with normoxic rats. Topographically, Evan’s blue leakage was mainly seen in the subcortical regions including striatum, which was accompanied by increased gelatinolytic activity and reduced immunostaining for tight junction protein occludin. Increased gelatinolytic activities and occludin protein loss were also observed in isolated ischemic microvessels. Gel gelatin zymography identified that MMP-9 was the main enzymatic source in the cerebral microvessels. Incubation of brain slices or isolated microvessels with purified MMP-9 revealed specific degradation of occludin. Inhibition of MMP-9 by NBO or MMP-inhibitor BB1101 significantly reduced occludin protein loss in ischemic microvessels. These results suggest that NBO attenuates early BBB disruption, and inhibition of MMP-9-mediated occludin degradation is an important mechanism for this protection.
PMCID: PMC2676213  PMID: 19187098
blood-brain barrier; matrix metalloproteinases; oxygen; stroke
19.  Clinicopathologic significance of claudin-6, occludin, and matrix metalloproteinases −2 expression in ovarian carcinoma 
Diagnostic Pathology  2013;8:190.
Tight junctions (TJs) are mainly composed of claudins, occludin, and tight junction adhesion molecules (JAM). The invasive and metastatic phenotype of highly invasive cancer cells has been related to abnormal structure and function of TJs, and with expression of activated matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The relevance of these mechanisms responsible for the invasion and metastasis of ovarian carcinoma is unclear. Similarly, it is not known if the expression of claudin-6, occludin and MMP2 is related with the clinical properties of these tumors.
Expression of claudin-6, occludin, and MMP2 was detected in samples of human ovarian cancer tissues by immunohistochemistry and correlated with the clinical properties of the tumors.
The positive expression rates of claudin-6 and MMP-2 were higher in ovarian papillary serous carcinomas than n ovarian serous adenomas (P < 0.05). There were no differences in the expression of occludin (P > 0.05). The expression of claudin-6 and occludin in ovarian cancer was not correlated with patient age, pathological grade, clinical stage, and metastasis (P > 0.05). MMP-2 expression was enhanced with increased clinical stage and metastasis (P < 0.05), but was unrelated to patient age or tumor grade (P > 0.05). There were no apparent correlations between expression of claudin-6, occludin and MMP-2 in ovarian cancer tissue (P > 0.05).
Our data suggest, for the first time, that the claudin-6 and MMP-2 are up-regulated in ovarian papillary serous carcinomas, MMP-2 expression was enhanced with increased clinical stage and metastasis. Claudin-6 and MMP-2 may play a positive role in the invasion and metastasis of ovarian cancer.
Virtual slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC3866569  PMID: 24245968
Tight junctions; Ovarian cancer; Claudin-6; Occludin; MMP-2
20.  Early inhibition of MMP activity in ischemic rat brain promotes expression of tight junction proteins and angiogenesis during recovery 
In cerebral ischemia, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have a dual role by acutely disrupting tight junction proteins (TJPs) in the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and chronically promoting angiogenesis. Since TJP remodeling of the neurovascular unit (NVU) is important in recovery and early inhibition of MMPs is neuroprotective, we hypothesized that short-term MMP inhibition would reduce infarct size and promote angiogenesis after ischemia. Adult spontaneously hypertensive rats had a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion with reperfusion. At the onset of ischemia, they received a single dose of the MMP inhibitor, GM6001. They were studied at multiple times up to 4 weeks with immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We observed newly formed vessels in peri-infarct regions at 3 weeks after reperfusion. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI showed BBB opening in new vessels. Along with the new vessels, pericytes expressed zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and MMP-3, astrocytes expressed ZO-1, occludin, and MMP-2, while endothelial cells expressed claudin-5. The GM6001, which reduced tissue loss at 3 to 4 weeks, significantly increased new vessel formation with expression of TJPs and MMPs. Our results show that pericytes and astrocytes act spatiotemporally, contributing to extraendothelial TJP formation, and that MMPs are involved in BBB restoration during recovery. Early MMP inhibition benefits neurovascular remodeling after stroke.
PMCID: PMC3705440  PMID: 23571276
astrocytes; blood–brain barrier; brain recovery; focal ischemia; matrix proteinases; pericytes angiogenesis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS), characterized by demyelination of white matter, loss of myelin forming oligodendrocytes, changes in the blood-brain-barrier (BBB), and leukocyte infiltration. Myelin basic protein (MBP) is a component of the myelin sheath. Degradation of myelin is believed to be an important step that leads to MS pathology. Transmigration of leukocytes across the vasculature, and a compromised BBB participate in the neuroinflammation of MS. We examined the expression and regulation of the chemokine CCL2 and the cytokine IL-6 in human endothelial cells (EC), a component of the BBB, after treatment with MBP.
EC were treated with full length MBP. CCL2 and IL-6 protein were determined by ELISA. Western blot analysis was used to determine signaling pathways. A BBB model was treated with MBP and permeability was assayed using albumin conjugated to Evan’s blue dye. The levels of the tight junction proteins occludin and claudin-1, and matrix metalloprotease (MMP)-2 were assayed by Western blot.
MBP significantly induced CCL2 and IL-6 protein from EC. This induction was partially mediated by the p38 MAPK pathway as there was phosphorylation after MBP treatment. MBP treatment of a BBB model caused an increase in permeability that correlated with a decrease in occludin and claudin-1, and an induction of MMP-2.
These data demonstrate that MBP induces chemotactic and inflammatory mediators. MBP also alters BBB permeability and tight junction expression, indicating additional factors that may contribute to the BBB breakdown characteristic of MS.
PMCID: PMC3430818  PMID: 22524708
MBP; MMP2; IL-6; CCL2; EAE; blood-brain-barrier; MS
22.  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
23.  West Nile virus-induced disruption of the blood–brain barrier in mice is characterized by the degradation of the junctional complex proteins and increase in multiple matrix metalloproteinases 
The Journal of General Virology  2012;93(Pt 6):1193-1203.
West Nile virus (WNV) encephalitis is characterized by neuroinflammation, neuronal loss and blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption. However, the mechanisms associated with the BBB disruption are unclear. Complex interactions between the tight junction proteins (TJP) and the adherens junction proteins (AJP) of the brain microvascular endothelial cells are responsible for maintaining the BBB integrity. Herein, we characterized the relationship between the BBB disruption and expression kinetics of key TJP, AJP and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the mice brain. A dramatic increase in the BBB permeability and extravasation of IgG was observed at later time points of the central nervous system (CNS) infection and did not precede virus–CNS entry. WNV-infected mice exhibited significant reduction in the protein levels of the TJP ZO-1, claudin-1, occludin and JAM-A, and AJP β-catenin and vascular endothelial cadherin, which correlated with increased levels of MMP-1, -3 and -9 and infiltrated leukocytes in the brain. Further, intracranial inoculation of WNV also demonstrated increased extravasation of IgG in the brain, suggesting the role of virus replication in the CNS in BBB disruption. These data suggest that altered expression of junction proteins is a pathological event associated with WNV infection and may explain the molecular basis of BBB disruption. We propose that WNV initially enters CNS without altering the BBB integrity and later virus replication in the brain initiates BBB disruption, allowing enhanced infiltration of immune cells and contribute to virus neuroinvasion via the ‘Trojan-horse’ route. These data further implicate roles of multiple MMPs in the BBB disruption and strategies to interrupt this process may influence the WNV disease outcome.
PMCID: PMC3755517  PMID: 22398316
24.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in Homocysteine-Induced Intestinal Microvascular Endothelial Paracellular and Transcellular Permeability 
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry  2012;113(4):1159-1169.
Although elevated levels of homocysteine (Hcy), known as hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy), is associated with inflammatory bowel disease, the mechanism of Hcy action is unclear. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that HHcy activates matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which in turn enhances permeability of human intestinal microvascular endothelial cell (HIMEC) layer by decreasing expression of endothelial junction proteins and increasing caveolae formation. HIMECs were grown in Transwells and treated with 500 μM Hcy in the presence or absence of MMP-9 activity inhibitor. Hcy-induced permeability to FITC-conjugated bovine serum albumin (FITC-BSA) was assessed by measuring fluorescence intensity of solutes in the Transwells’ lower chambers. The cell-cell interaction and cell barrier function was estimated by measuring trans-endothelial electrical impedance. Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry were used to study cell junction protein expressions. Hcy-induced changes in transcellular transport of HIMECs were estimated by observing formation of functional caveolae defined as caveolae labeled by cholera toxin and antibody against caveolin-1 and one that have taken up FITC-BSA. Hcy instigated HIMEC monolayer permeability through activation of MMP-9. The increased paracellular permeability was associated with degradation of vascular endothelial cadherin and zona occludin-1 and transcellular permeability through increased caveolae formation in HIMECs. Elevation of Hcy content increases permeability of HIMEC layer affecting both paracellular and transcellular transport pathways, and this increased permeability was alleviated by inhibition of MMP-9 activity. These findings contribute to clarification of mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease development.
PMCID: PMC3337944  PMID: 22275073
Inflammatory bowel disease; microvascular remodeling; paracellular transport; transcellular transport
25.  Ischemic Postconditioning Decreases Cerebral Edema and Brain Blood Barrier Disruption Caused by Relief of Carotid Stenosis in a Rat Model of Cerebral Hypoperfusion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57869.
Background and Purpose
Complications due to brain edema and breakdown of blood brain barrier are an important factor affecting the treatment effects of patients with severe carotid stenosis. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of ischemic postconditioning on brain edema and disruption of blood brain barrier via establishing rat model of hypoperfusion due to severe carotid stenosis.
Wistar rat model of hypoperfusion due to severe carotid stenosis was established by binding a stainless microtube to both carotid arteries. Ischemic postconditioning procedure consisted of three cycles of 30 seconds ischemia and 30 seconds reperfusion. Brain edema was evaluated by measuring cerebral water content, and blood brain barrier permeability was assayed by examining cerebral concentration of Evans' Blue (EB) and fluorescein sodium (NaF). ELISA was used to analyze the expression of MMP-9, claudin-5 and occludin. The activity and location of MMP-9 was analyzed by gelatin zymography and in situ zymography, respectively. The distribution of tight junction proteins claudin-5 and occludin was observed by immunohistochemistry.
The increased brain water content and cerebral concentration of EB and NaF were suppressed by administration of ischemic postconditioning prior to relief of carotid stenosis. Zymographic studies showed that MMP-9 was mainly located in the cortex and its activity was significantly improved by relief of carotid stenosis and, but the elevated MMP-9 activity was inhibited markedly by ischemic postconditioning. Immunohistochemistry revealed that ischemic postconditioning improved the discontinuous distribution of claudin-5 and occludin. ELISA detected that the expression of up-regulated MMP-9 and down-regulated claudin-5 and occludin caused by carotid relief were all attenuated by ischemic postconditioning.
Ischemic postconditioning is an effective method to prevent brain edema and improve BBB permeability and could be used during relief of severe carotid stenosis.
PMCID: PMC3585273  PMID: 23469092

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