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1.  Matrix Metalloproteinases and their Inhibitors in Vascular Remodeling and Vascular Disease 
Biochemical pharmacology  2007;75(2):346-359.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of proteolytic enzymes that degrade various components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Members of the MMP family include collagenases, gelatinases, stromelysins, matrilysins and membrane-type MMPs. ProMMPs are cleaved into active forms that promote degradation of ECM proteins. Also, recent evidence suggests direct or indirect effects of MMPs on ion channels in the endothelium and vascular smooth muscle, and on other mechanisms of vascular relaxation/contraction. Endogenous tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) reduce excessive proteolytic ECM degradation by MMPs. The balance between MMPs and TIMPs plays a major role in vascular remodeling, angiogenesis, and the uterine and systemic vasodilation during normal pregnancy. An imbalance in the MMPs/TIMPs activity ratio may underlie the pathogenesis of vascular diseases such as abdominal aortic aneurysm, varicose veins, hypertension and preeclampsia. Downregulation of MMPs using genetic manipulations of endogenous TIMPs, or synthetic pharmacological inhibitors such as BB-94 (Batimastat) and doxycycline, and Ro-28-2653, a more specific inhibitor of gelatinases and membrane type 1-MMP, could be beneficial in reducing the MMP-mediated vascular dysfunction and the progressive vessel wall damage associated with vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2254136  PMID: 17678629
MMP; TIMP; blood vessels; extracellular matrix; aneurysm; varicose veins
2.  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
3.  Matrix metalloproteinases and their natural inhibitors in fibrovascular membranes of proliferative diabetic retinopathy 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2000;84(10):1091-1096.
AIM—To examine epiretinal membranes of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) for the presence of selective matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their natural inhibitors (TIMPs), in order to determine whether neovascularisation and fibrosis, characteristic of this complication of diabetes mellitus, are associated with specific anomalies of MMP or TIMP expression.
METHODS—The presence of selected MMPs and TIMPs was investigated in 24 fibrovascular epiretinal membranes of PDR, and the findings compared with that observed in 21 avascular epiretinal membranes of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) and five normal retinas. Specimens were examined for deposition of interstitial collagenase (MMP-1), stromelysin-1 (MMP-3), gelatinase A (MMP-2), gelatinase B (MMP-9), and three tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3).
RESULTS—The results showed that unlike normal retina, which constitutively expresses MMP-1 and TIMP-2, a large proportion of PDR membranes (> 62%) stained for MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-9, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3. There were no differences in the expression of these molecules when compared with PVR membranes. A characteristic staining for MMP-9 was observed within the perivascular matrix of PDR membranes, and there was a significant increase in TIMP-2 expression by PDR membranes (p= 0.036) when compared with PVR membranes.
CONCLUSIONS—The findings that MMPs involved in degradation of fibrovascular tissue matrix, as well as TIMP-1 and TIMP-2, are found in a large proportion of PDR membranes, and that their expression does not differ from that of PVR membranes, suggest the existence of common pathways of extracellular matrix degradation in pathological processes leading to retinal neovascularisation and fibrosis.

PMCID: PMC1723275  PMID: 11004090
4.  Synovial procollagenase activation by human mast cell tryptase dependence upon matrix metalloproteinase 3 activation. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1989;84(5):1657-1662.
Mast cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the matrix degradation observed in the cartilaginous and osseous structures of the rheumatoid joint. We previously reported that human mast cell tryptase, a 134-kD granule-associated neutral protease, is present in rheumatoid synovium and can activate collagenase in crude culture medium in vitro. the present study attempts to depict the precise mechanism of this activation. To express full activation of latent collagenase, matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) or stromelysin, can be activated by tryptase in a time and dose-dependent manner. Tryptase was not capable of generating active collagenase in the crude media from cultured rheumatoid synoviocytes depleted of proMMP-3 by immunoadsorption. In addition, the function of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) was not altered by tryptase, and SDS-PAGE analysis revealed no degradation of TIMP by tryptase. The tryptase dependent activation of synoviocyte procollagenase thereby appears to be entirely dependent upon its ability to activate proMMP-3.
PMCID: PMC304033  PMID: 2553780
5.  Increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases and matrix degrading activity in vulnerable regions of human atherosclerotic plaques. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1994;94(6):2493-2503.
Dysregulated extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism may contribute to vascular remodeling during the development and complication of human atherosclerotic lesions. We investigated the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a family of enzymes that degrade ECM components in human atherosclerotic plaques (n = 30) and in uninvolved arterial specimens (n = 11). We studied members of all three MMP classes (interstitial collagenase, MMP-1; gelatinases, MMP-2 and MMP-9; and stromelysin, MMP-3) and their endogenous inhibitors (TIMPs 1 and 2) by immunocytochemistry, zymography, and immunoprecipitation. Normal arteries stained uniformly for 72-kD gelatinase and TIMPs. In contrast, plaques' shoulders and regions of foam cell accumulation displayed locally increased expression of 92-kD gelatinase, stromelysin, and interstitial collagenase. However, the mere presence of MMP does not establish their catalytic capacity, as the zymogens lack activity, and TIMPs may block activated MMPs. All plaque extracts contained activated forms of gelatinases determined zymographically and by degradation of 3H-collagen type IV. To test directly whether atheromata actually contain active matrix-degrading enzymes in situ, we devised a method which allows the detection and microscopic localization of MMP enzymatic activity directly in tissue sections. In situ zymography revealed gelatinolytic and caseinolytic activity in frozen sections of atherosclerotic but not of uninvolved arterial tissues. The MMP inhibitors, EDTA and 1,10-phenanthroline, as well as recombinant TIMP-1, reduced these activities which colocalized with regions of increased immunoreactive MMP expression, i.e., the shoulders, core, and microvasculature of the plaques. Focal overexpression of activated MMP may promote destabilization and complication of atherosclerotic plaques and provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC330083  PMID: 7989608
6.  Activities of matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 in idiopathic hemotympanum and otitis media with effusion 
Acta oto-laryngologica  2008;128(2):144-150.
The expression profile of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) was specific to the type of middle ear effusion. Further studies are necessary for elucidating its correlation with the sequelae of otitis media with effusion (OME) and idiopathic hemotympanum.
We aimed to investigate the relative activities of gelatinases (MMP-2 and 9), stromelysin-1 (MMP-3), matrilysin-1 (MMP-7) as well as measuring TIMP-2 levels in the serous and mucous effusions of OME and hemorrhagic effusion of the idiopathic hemotympanum.
Middle ear effusions were collected from patients with OME and idiopathic hemotympanum, and were classified as mucoid, serous or hemorrhagic. MMP activity in the effusion samples was examined by gelatin and casein zymography. Levels of TIMP-2 were measured by ELISA. Human temporal bones sections, with and without otitis media (OM), were examined histologically.
One case showed tympanic membrane thinning in the OM group, but none in the control group. While MMP-2 was present in all effusions, the active form of MMP-2 was found only in mucous effusions. MMP-3 and MMP-7 activity was detected only in the mucous effusions. MMP-9 exhibited activity in all effusions, with the highest levels in mucous effusions. TIMP-2 levels were markedly elevated in serous effusions.
PMCID: PMC2577605  PMID: 17851959
Matrix metalloproteinase; Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase; Otitis media with effusion; Idiopathic hemotympanum
7.  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
8.  Immunolocalization of matrix metalloproteinase 3 (stromelysin) in rheumatoid synovioblasts (B cells): correlation with rheumatoid arthritis. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1989;48(8):645-653.
Metalloproteinases produced by connective tissue cells may play a key part in the destruction of joints in rheumatoid arthritis. Matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3; stromelysin) capable of degrading cartilage proteoglycans and type IX collagen and of activating procollagenase was immunolocalised in hyperplastic synovial lining cells in rheumatoid synovium, but not in the cells of normal synovium. Cells responsible for synthesis of MMP-3 have the phenotype of synovioblasts (B cells) by immunoelectron microscopy, but not of phagocytic synovial macrophages (A cells). Cultured monolayer of rheumatoid synovial cells synthesises MMP-3 only under treatment with macrophage conditioned medium. Immunolocalisation of MMP-3 in rheumatoid synovium and cultured synovial cells was possible when the specimens were treated with a monovalent ionophore, monensin. These results suggest that MMP-3 is synthesised and secreted continuously without storage from hyperplastic synovioblasts stimulated by factor(s) derived from activated macrophages present in the synovium.
PMCID: PMC1003840  PMID: 2675782
9.  Distribution of the matrix metalloproteinases stromelysin, gelatinases A and B, and collagenase in Crohn's disease and normal intestine. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1994;47(2):113-116.
AIMS--To investigate the role of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the connective tissue changes seen in the intestine in Crohn's disease. METHODS--Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy using specific antibodies to the MMPs (collagenase, gelatinase A and B, and stromelysin) were used to assess the distribution of these enzymes in normal and diseased intestine. RESULTS--In normal intestine the matrix metalloproteinases were confined to a few isolated inflammatory cells, but in Crohn's disease, the inflammatory infiltrate was associated with increased numbers of polymorphonuclear leucocytes which stained positive for gelatinase B. Stromelysin was also detected extracellularly on the connective tissue matrix in regions of smooth muscle cell proliferation and mucosal degradation. Interestingly, in ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel disease, stromelysin was localised in the lamina propria in regions of mucosal loss. CONCLUSIONS--The increased numbers of inflammatory cells containing gelatinase B, and the localisation of extracellular stromelysin in regions of fibrosis and mucosal degradation, suggest that these enzymes have a role in the pathological changes seen in Crohn's disease. In cases of ulcerative colitis stromelysin was also detected on the lamina propria in regions of mucosal loss, and seems to be associated with the connective tissue changes that precede mucosal loss.
PMCID: PMC501822  PMID: 8132824
10.  Upregulation and differential expression of matrilysin (MMP-7) and metalloelastase (MMP-12) and their inhibitors TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 in Barrett's oesophageal adenocarcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(3):383-392.
Oesophageal adenocarcinoma is believed to arise from metaplastic mucosa in the distal oesophagus, a condition also known as Barrett's oesophagus (BE). BE develops as a result of injury caused by refluxing gastric and duodenal contents and is associated with increased risk of malignant transformation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in all aspects of tumour progression; tumour growth, basement membrane degradation, invasion and metastatic spread. Using in situ hybridization, we investigated the expression patterns of collagenases-1 and -3, stromelysin-2, matrilysin, metalloelastase and TIMPs-1 and -3 in BE, adenocarcinoma and lymph-node metastases. Matrilysin was expressed abundantly in 12/15 tumours and in 4/6 lymph-node metastases and its expression correlated with the histological aggressiveness of tumour. Matrilysin and metalloelastase were upregulated already in BE. Stromelysin-2 and collagenase-3 expression was detected only in a few tumours. Collagenase-1 was expressed by cancer and stromal cells in 9/15 tumours. Tumour-infiltrating macrophages expressed metalloelastase in 13/15 cancers. TIMPs-1 and -3 were expressed in 12/15 and 11/15 tumours, respectively. Laminin-5 and tenascin were abundantly expressed at the invasive front of poorly differentiated tumours, but not in BE. Our results indicate that matrilysin is the principal MMP expressed by tumour cells in oesophageal adenocarcinoma, and further studies are needed to investigate whether matrilysin or tenascin-C could be used as a predictive marker for progression of BE to cancer. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2364078  PMID: 11487270
collagenase; in situ hybridization; laminin-5; tenascin-C
11.  Enhanced Expression of Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases-4 Gene in Human Osteoarthritic Synovial Membranes and Its Differential Regulation by Cytokines in Chondrocytes 
Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are multi-functional proteins with matrix metalloproteinases-inhibiting activities. We studied expression of anti-inflammatory, TIMP-4 gene in human joint tissues and its regulation by arthritis-associated cytokines.
TIMP-4 RNA expression originating from synovial fibroblasts was significantly (2.4 fold; p<0.001) elevated in 8 osteoarthritic (OA) versus 7 non-arthritic synovial membranes. Non-arthritic and OA femoral head and knee chondrocytes displayed substantial but variably constitutive expression of the TIMP-4 mRNA. In articular chondrocytes, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β1) and oncostatin M (OSM) upregulated TIMP-4 RNA and protein expression while interleukin-1 (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) did not, suggesting differential regulation by arthritis-associated cytokines. Interleukin 17 (IL-17) mildly induced TIMP-4 mRNA. TGF-β1 induction of TIMP-4 expression was partly inhibited by ERK pathway and Sp1 transcription factor inhibitors.
Enhanced TIMP-4 gene expression in OA synovial membranes and cartilage may be due to induction by TGF-β1, OSM and IL-17, suggesting its pathophysiological role in tissue remodeling in human joints. TGF-β1 induction of TIMP-4 expression is mediated partly by ERK pathway and Sp1 transcription factor.
PMCID: PMC3245407  PMID: 22216069
Osteoarthritis; synovium; chondrocytes; TIMP-4; cytokines.
12.  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
13.  Expression of metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in primary pulmonary carcinomas. 
British Journal of Cancer  1992;66(6):1188-1194.
Nine primary pulmonary carcinomas, one metastatic carcinoma, and two malignant pleural mesotheliomas have been analysed for the expression at the mRNA level of metalloproteinases (MPs) and tissue inhibitors of MPs (TIMPs). In situ hybridisation showed TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 transcripts predominantly over tumour stroma and gelatinases evenly distributed over both stromal and tumour cells. While both TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were expressed in non-neoplastic lungs (NNL) as well as in carcinomas, stromelysin 3 (ST3), 92 kDa gelatinase and interstitial collagenase were expressed only by carcinomas. Expression of these MPs by carcinomas was independent of histologic type and such tumour features as fibrosis or necrosis. The consistent expression of ST3 by all of the carcinomas examined and absence of its expression in NNL indicates that ST3 production is likely associated with the malignant phenotype. However, since 92 kDa gelatinase and interstitial collagenase transcripts were found in some but not all tumour samples, their expression is not a uniform feature of pulmonary carcinomas. The possible prognostic significance of the expression of the latter two enzymes by carcinomas remains to be established.
PMCID: PMC1978055  PMID: 1457364
14.  Effects of induced mast cell activation on prostaglandin E and metalloproteinase production by rheumatoid synovial tissue in vitro 
OBJECTIVE—To determine whether induced mast cell activation/degranulation in rheumatoid synovial explants modulates the production of prostaglandin E (PGE2), and the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) collagenase 1, gelatinase A, and stromelysin 1.
METHODS—Synovial explant cultures were treated either with rabbit IgG anti-human IgE as a mast cell (MC) secretagogue or with non-immune rabbit IgG as controls. After 20 hours conditioned medium was assayed for the release of MC tryptase, PGE2, collagenase 1, gelatinase A, and stromelysin 1 using radioimmunoassay, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, western blot, and zymogram techniques; tissue explants were examined immunohistologically for the relative distributions of MC tryptase, collagenase 1, and stromelysin 1.
RESULTS—Over a 20 hour incubation period the MC secretagogue treated explants showed a significant increase in the quantities of released tryptase and PGE2 compared with controls. By contrast, the three MMPs showed variable values between experiments in response to MC activation; no reproducible trend of either an increased or decreased production of each MMP over control values was evident. Each MMP initially appeared as an inactive precursor form; collagenase 1 and stromelysin 1 were more effectively processed to active forms in the MC activated cultures. Immunolocalisation studies of MC activated explants showed that areas of extracellular tryptase were commonly associated with the local production of both collagenase 1 and stromelysin 1.
CONCLUSION—MC degranulation induced artificially in rheumatoid synovial explant cultures consistently resulted in an increased production of PGE2 but had variable effects on the quantification of released collagenase 1, gelatinase A, and stromelysin 1. Such observations support the concept that activated synovial MCs within their native environment stimulate the production of non-MC derived PGE2 and may contribute to the regulation and processing of specific MMPs; both aspects represent important components of the inflammatory and degradative processes of the rheumatoid lesion.

 Keywords: mast cells; matrix metalloproteinases; prostaglandin E2; rheumatoid synovium
PMCID: PMC1752465  PMID: 9536819
15.  Comparative analysis of the expression patterns of metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in breast neoplasia, sporadic colorectal neoplasia, pulmonary carcinomas and malignant non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in humans. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(11):1401-1408.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases, TIMPs) play essential roles in the remodelling of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Results of in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that the balance between MMPs and TIMPs is altered in neoplasia, contributing to the invasive and metastatic properties of malignant tumours. In this study we have analysed the expression of five MMP genes and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in 37 benign and malignant lesions of human breast using Northern blot analysis. MMP-9 (92 kDa gelatinase) and MMP-11 (stromelysin 3) were most consistently expressed by carcinomas. Based on detection of either MMP-9 or MMP-11 mRNAs, we were able to distinguish between malignant and benign disease with a predictive accuracy of 90% with 94% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Subsequently, these results were compared with results for carcinomas of colon and lung and malignant non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). Elevated MMP-9 and TIMP-1 expression was observed in all four systems. MMP-11 characterised all carcinomas as well as carcinomas in situ but was not detectable in NHL. Our data therefore argue that there are remarkably similar patterns of specific functions involved in ECM remodelling that correlate with malignancy in different human tumours of different histogenesis. However, MMP-11 expression is a characteristic of tumours of epithelial origin that is not found in lymphoid neoplasia. Thus it suggests that MMP-11 may play a regulatory role in the invasion and metastasis of carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC2074489  PMID: 8645587
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Basement Membrane and Repair of Injury to Peripheral Nerve: Defining a Potential Role for Macrophages, Matrix Metalloproteinases, and Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases-1 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1996;184(6):2311-2326.
Injury to a peripheral nerve is followed by a remodeling process consisting of axonal degeneration and regeneration. It is not known how Schwann cell–derived basement membrane is preserved after injury or what role matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors play in axonal degeneration and regeneration. We showed that the MMPs gelatinase B (MMP-9), stromelysin-1 (MMP-3), and the tissue inhibitor of MMPs (TIMP)-1 were induced in crush and distal segments of mouse sciatic nerve after injury. TIMP-1 inhibitor activity was present in excess of proteinase activity in extracts of injured nerve. TIMP-1 protected basement membrane type IV collagen from degradation by exogenous gelatinase B in cryostat sections of nerve in vitro. In vivo, during the early phase (1 d after crush) and later phase (4 d after crush) after injury, induction of TNF-α and TGF-β1 mRNAs, known modulators of TIMP-1 expression, were paralleled by an upregulation of TIMP-1 and gelatinase B mRNAs. At 4 days after injury, TIMP-1, gelatinase B, and TNF-α mRNAs were localized to infiltrating macrophages and Schwann cells in the regions of nerve infiltrated by elicited macrophages. TIMP-1 and cytokine mRNA expression was upregulated in undamaged nerve explants incubated with medium conditioned by macrophages or containing the cytokines TGF-β1, TNF-α, and IL-1α. These results show that TIMP-1 may protect basement membrane from uncontrolled degradation after injury and that cytokines produced by macrophages may participate in the regulation of TIMP-1 levels during nerve repair.
PMCID: PMC2196375  PMID: 8976186
19.  Differential expression of syndecans and glypicans in chronically inflamed synovium 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;67(5):592-601.
Membrane-bound heparan sulphate proteoglycans (HSPGs) act as co-receptors and presenters of cytokines and are involved in cell–matrix and cell–cell adhesion.
To investigate which HSPGs are expressed in knee joint synovia from patients with different forms of arthritis and normal individuals.
Synovial samples were obtained from patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (n = 8), longstanding rheumatoid arthritis (n = 13), psoriatic arthritis (n = 7), osteoarthritis (n = 6) and normal joints (n = 12). Expression of syndecan-1, -2, -3 and -4 and glypican-1, -3 and -4 was analysed by immunohistochemistry and dual label immunofluorescence.
The expression of HSPGs in chronically inflamed synovium exhibited a differential distribution. Syndecan-1 was present in the mononuclear infiltrates of synovia from patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis where it was expressed by plasma cells. Syndecan-2 was present mainly in blood vessels where it occurred on endothelial cells, pericytes and smooth muscle cells. Syndecan-3 stained intensely in endothelial cells but also occurred in sublining macrophages and the lining layer. Glypican-4 occurred in the lining layer and blood vessels. Increased expression of these HSPGs was apparent in rheumatoid and psoriatic compared to osteoarthritic and normal synovia. Little or no staining for syndecan-4, glypican-1 and glypican-3 was seen in all samples.
Selected HSPGs, such as syndecan-1, -2 and -3 and glypican-4, could play a part in the pathophysiology of arthritis, such as the migration and retention of leukocytes and angiogenesis in the chronically inflamed synovium.
PMCID: PMC2563418  PMID: 17545191
20.  Rescue of mammary epithelial cell apoptosis and entactin degradation by a tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 transgene 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;135(6):1669-1677.
We have used transgenic mice overexpressing the human tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 gene under the control of the ubiquitous beta-actin promoter/enhancer to evaluate matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) function in vivo in mammary gland growth and development. By crossing the TIMP-1 transgenic animals with mice expressing an autoactivating stromelysin-1 transgene targeted to mammary epithelial cells, we obtained a range of mice with genetically engineered proteolytic levels. The alveolar epithelial cells of mice expressing autoactivating stromelysin-1 underwent unscheduled apoptosis during late pregnancy. When stromelysin-1 transgenic mice were crossed with mice overexpressing TIMP-1, apoptosis was extinguished. Entactin (nidogen) was a specific target for stromelysin-1 in the extracellular matrix. The enhanced cleavage of basement membrane entactin to above-normal levels was directly related to the apoptosis of overlying mammary epithelial cells and paralleled the extracellular MMP activity. These results provide direct evidence for cleavage of an extracellular matrix molecule by an MMP in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2133964  PMID: 8978831
21.  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
22.  Determination of interstitial collagenase (MMP-1) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1995;54(12):970-975.
OBJECTIVES--To investigate whether interstitial collagenase (MMP-1) concentration in synovial fluid can be useful as a marker for disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), to determine the main route by which collagenase degrades the matrix of articular cartilage, and to investigate if an imbalance between metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) is responsible for the activity of MMPs in RA. METHODS--Collagenase concentrations were measured in synovial fluid and paired serum samples using a specific sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Collagenase activities were also assayed in synovial fluid samples. Synovial tissues obtained from the same patient were examined by immunohistochemical staining and the numbers of cells expressing collagenase were counted. RESULTS--Collagenase concentrations in synovial fluid did not correlate with C reactive protein and collagenase levels in serum, but did correlate positively with the degree of synovial inflammation, and increased with increasing numbers of cells identified as expressing collagenase in synovial tissue. Collagenase activities did not correlate with TIMP-1 concentrations, but did correlate strongly with the ratios of collagenase concentration to TIMP-1 (r = 0.73). CONCLUSION--The collagenase concentration in synovial fluid cannot be used as a marker for systemic disease activity, but can be used as a marker for the degree of synovial inflammation in the joint from which the sample is aspirated. In advanced RA, most of the collagenase is probably produced in synovial lining cells and released into synovial fluid, where it degrades the matrix of articular cartilage. An imbalance between MMP and TIMP may be of importance in the degradation of extracellular matrix of articular cartilage in RA.
PMCID: PMC1010062  PMID: 8546529
23.  Matrilysin expression and function in airway epithelium. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1998;102(7):1321-1331.
We report that matrilysin, a matrix metalloproteinase, is constitutively expressed in the epithelium of peribronchial glands and conducting airways in normal lung. Matrilysin expression was increased in airway epithelial cells and was induced in alveolar type II cells in cystic fibrosis. Other metalloproteinases (collagenase-1, stromelysin-1, and 92-kD gelatinase) were not produced by normal or injured lung epithelium. These observations suggest that matrilysin functions in injury-mediated responses of the lung. Indeed, matrilysin expression was increased in migrating airway epithelial cells in wounded human and mouse trachea. In human tissue, epithelial migration was reduced by > 80% by a hydroxamate inhibitor, and in mouse tissue, reepithelialization in trachea from matrilysin-null mice was essentially blocked. In vivo observations and cell culture studies demonstrated that matrilysin was secreted lumenally by lung epithelium, but upon activation or while migrating over wounds, some matrilysin was released basally. The constitutive production of matrilysin in conducting airways, its upregulation after injury, its induction by alveolar epithelium, and its release into both lumenal and matrix compartments suggest that this metalloproteinase serves multiple functions in intact and injured lung, one of which is to facilitate reepithelialization.
PMCID: PMC508979  PMID: 9769324
24.  Membrane Type-1 Matrix Metalloproteinases and Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases-2 RNA Levels Mimic Each Other during Xenopus laevis Metamorphosis 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(10):e1000.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their endogenous inhibitors TIMPs (tissue inhibitors of MMPs), are two protein families that work together to remodel the extracellular matrix (ECM). TIMPs serve not only to inhibit MMP activity, but also aid in the activation of MMPs that are secreted as inactive zymogens. Xenopus laevis metamorphosis is an ideal model for studying MMP and TIMP expression levels because all tissues are remodeled under the control of one molecule, thyroid hormone. Here, using RT-PCR analysis, we examine the metamorphic RNA levels of two membrane-type MMPs (MT1-MMP, MT3-MMP), two TIMPs (TIMP-2, TIMP-3) and a potent gelatinase (Gel-A) that can be activated by the combinatory activity of a MT-MMP and a TIMP. In the metamorphic tail and intestine the RNA levels of TIMP-2 and MT1-MMP mirror each other, and closely resemble that of Gel-A as all three are elevated during periods of cell death and proliferation. Conversely, MT3-MMP and TIMP-3 do not have similar RNA level patterns nor do they mimic the RNA levels of the other genes examined. Intriguingly, TIMP-3, which has been shown to have anti-apoptotic activity, is found at low levels in tissues during periods of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC1991586  PMID: 17912339
25.  MT1-MMP is a crucial promotor of synovial invasion in human rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(3):686.
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is invasion of the synovial pannus into cartilage and this step requires degradation of the collagen matrix. The aim of this study was to explore the role of one of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), membrane-type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), in synovial pannus invasiveness.
Expression and localization of MT1-MMP in human RA pannus were investigated by Western blot analysis of primary synovial cells and immunohistochemistry of RA joints specimens. The functional role of MT1-MMP was analyzed by 3D collagen invasion assays and a cartilage invasion assay in the presence or absence of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, or GM6001. The effect of adenoviral expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP construct lacking a catalytic domain was also examined.
MT1-MMP was highly expressed at the pannus-cartilage junction of RA joints. Freshly isolated rheumatoid synovial tissues and isolated RA synovial fibroblasts invaded into a 3D collagen matrix in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. Invasion was blocked by TIMP-2 and GM6001, but not by TIMP-1. It was also inhibited by the over-expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP which inhibits collagenolytic activity and proMMP-2 activation by MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Synovial fibroblasts also invaded into cartilage in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. This process was further enhanced by removing aggrecan from the cartilage matrix.
MT1-MMP is an essential collagen-degrading proteinase during pannus invasion in human RA. Specific inhibition of MT1-MMP-dependent invasion may form a novel therapeutic strategy for RA.
PMCID: PMC2819053  PMID: 19248098
MT1-MMP; synovial pannus; rheumatoid arthritis

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