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Circ Res. 2000 Oct 13;87(8):670-6.

Vascular matrix metalloproteinase-2-dependent cleavage of calcitonin gene-related peptide promotes vasoconstriction.

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  • 1Perinatal Research Centre, Departments of Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 has been historically associated with the process of vascular remodeling through the cleavage of extracellular matrix proteins. However, we recently found that MMP-2 also cleaves the endothelium-derived peptide big endothelin-1, ET-1[1-38] and yields the novel vasoconstrictor ET-1[1-32]. We therefore investigated the effects of MMP-2 inhibitors as potential vasodilators. MMP inhibition with ortho-phenanthroline (0.3 to 30 micromol/L) induced vasorelaxation of isolated rat mesenteric arteries (maximum of relaxation=74.5+/-27.6% at 30 micromol/L). However, phosphoramidon (0.3 to 30 micromol/L), which inhibits some metalloenzymes, but not MMP-2, did not dilate the arteries. Selective inhibition of endogenous MMP-2 with the novel tissue-permeable cyclic peptide CTTHWGFTLC (CTT, 10 micromol/L) also caused vasorelaxation (by 85+/-6%), whereas STTHWGFTLS (10 micromol/L), an inactive CTT analogue, did not dilate the arteries. Interestingly, the vasorelaxation that results from MMP-2 inhibition was endothelium-independent. Thus, we examined whether MMP-2 acted on peptides derived from the smooth muscle or the perivascular nerves. Recombinant human MMP-2 cleaved calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) specifically at the Gly(14)-Leu(15) peptide bond and reduced the vasodilatory potency of CGRP by 20-fold. Inhibition of MMP-2 increased the amount of intact CGRP in arteries and enhanced vasorelaxation induced by anandamide, which stimulates CGRP release. Vasorelaxation in response to MMP-2 inhibition was abolished by CGRP[8-37], a selective CGRP receptor antagonist, and by capsaicin, which depletes arterial perivascular nerves of CGRP. We conclude that vascular MMP-2 cleaves endogenous CGRP and promotes vasoconstriction. These data suggest a novel mechanism of regulating the vasoactive and, possibly, the neurohormonal actions of CGRP and establish MMP-2 as a modulator of vascular function.

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