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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 22;276(25):22341-50. Epub 2001 Apr 10.

Transforming growth factor-beta - and tumor necrosis factor-alpha -mediated induction and proteolytic activation of MMP-9 in human skin.

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  • 1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


Both cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are active during physiologic and pathologic processes such as cancer metastasis and wound repair. We have systematically studied cytokine-mediated MMP regulation. Cytokine-mediated proteinase induction and activation were initially investigated in organ-cultured human skin followed by determination of underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms using isolated skin cells. In this report we demonstrate that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) synergistically induce pro-MMP-9 in human skin as well as isolated dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes. Furthermore, TNF-alpha promotes proteolytic activation of pro-MMP-9 by conversion of the 92-kDa pro-MMP-9 to the 82-kDa active enzyme. This activation occurred only in skin organ culture and not by either isolated fibroblasts or keratinocyte, although the pro-MMP-9 activation could be measured in a cell-free system derived from TNF-alpha-activated skin. The cytokine-mediated induction of pro-MMP-9 in dermal fibroblasts was evident by increased mRNA. At the transcription level, we examined the cytokine-mediated transactivation of the 5'-region promoter of the human MMP-9 in dermal fibroblasts. The results demonstrated that TNF-alpha and TGF-beta could independently stimulate the 5'-flanking 670-base pair promoter. A TGF-beta-response element (-474) and an NF-kappaB-binding site (-601) were identified to be the cis-elements for TGF-beta or TNF-alpha activation, respectively. Taken together, these findings suggest a specific mechanism whereby multiple cytokines can regulate MMP-9 expression/activation in the cells of human skin. These results imply roles for these cytokines in the regulation of MMP-9 in physiologic and pathologic tissue remodeling.

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