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Am J Pathol. 2004 May;164(5):1575-85.

Role of discoidin domain receptors 1 and 2 in human smooth muscle cell-mediated collagen remodeling: potential implications in atherosclerosis and lymphangioleiomyomatosis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Obstructive diseases of blood vessels and the lung are characterized by degradation and synthesis of new extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Regulated remodeling of the ECM in diseases such as atherosclerosis and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), both characterized by excessive accumulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs), is thought to be controlled in part by cell surface receptors for specific ECM components. Discoidin domain receptors (DDR) 1 and 2 represent a family of tyrosine kinase collagen receptors that are activated by fibrillar collagens. To test the hypothesis that DDR may be involved in ECM remodeling by SMCs in vivo, we analyzed DDR expression by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry and demonstrate that both DDR1 and DDR2 are up-regulated in nodules of LAM as compared to normal controls, and are expressed in lesions of atherosclerosis. In vitro, retroviral overexpression of DDR1 or DDR2 in human SMCs cultured on polymerized collagen gels leads to a reduction of collagen expression and induces matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 1 at both mRNA and protein levels, but only DDR2 enhances MMP2 activation. Moreover, DDR2 overexpression increases SMC-mediated collagen and elastin degradation in vitro. Using laser microdissection, we extend our studies to the analysis of SMCs from LAM nodules where we observe higher MMP1 expression and MMP2 activation. Taken together, these data provide evidence for the potential roles of DDR1 and DDR2 in the regulation of collagen turnover mediated by SMCs in obstructive diseases of blood vessels and the lung.

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