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Bone. 2004 Jan;34(1):48-56.

Immunolocalization of matrix metalloproteinase-13 on bone surface under osteoclasts in rat tibia.

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  • 1Department of Oral Morphology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama, Japan.


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 (an interstitial collagenase also called collagenase 3) is involved in degradation of extracellular matrix in various tissues. Using immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, we investigated localization of MMP-13 in rat tibia, to clarify the role of MMP-13 in bone resorption. MMP-13 reactivity was mainly seen on bone surfaces under osteoclasts, and in some osteocytes and their lacunae near osteoclasts. However, immunoreactivity was not seen in chondrocytes or osteoclasts. MMP-13 was also localized on cement lines in the epiphysis. In the growth plate erosion zone, perivascular cells showed MMP-13 reactivity. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that MMP-13 was localized on the bone surfaces, under the ruffled borders and some clear zones of osteoclasts. Gold-labeled MMP-13 was closely associated with collagen fibrils. Gold labeling was also detected in Golgi apparatus of osteocytes adjacent to osteoclasts and bone lining cells. Western blotting showed that MMP-13 was mainly associated with mineralized bone matrix. These findings suggest that MMP-13 synthesized and secreted by osteoblast-lineage cells is localized under the ruffled borders of osteoclasts. MMP-13 may play an important role in degradation of type I collagen in bone matrix, acting in concert with cathepsin K and MMP-9 produced by osteoclasts. MMP-13 in perivascular cells may be involved in removal of cartilage matrix proteins such as type II collagen and aggrecan.

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