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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2009 Aug;297(2):C471-80. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00019.2009. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Vascular regression and survival are differentially regulated by MT1-MMP and TIMPs in the aortic ring model of angiogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


This study was designed to investigate the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) in the reabsorption of neovessels in collagen gel cultures of rat and mouse aortic rings. Aortic angiogenesis was associated with collagen lysis and production of the matrix-degrading enzymes MMP-2, MMP-9, and membrane-type MMP (MT1-MMP, or MMP-14). Vascular growth and regression were not affected by disruption of MMP-2 or MMP-9. In addition, no effect on vascular regression was observed by blocking plasmin, a protease implicated in the activation of MMPs, with epsilon-aminocaproic acid or by adding plasminogen, which caused a modest increase in vascular proliferation. Conversely, angiogenesis was blocked and vessels stabilized by inhibiting MT1-MMP with neutralizing antibodies, TIMP-2, TIMP-3, or TIMP-4. TIMP-1, which blocks MMP-2 and MMP-9 but is a poor inhibitor of MT1-MMP, had no antiangiogenic effect. However, TIMP-1 prolonged the survival of neovessels following angiogenesis. Vascular regression was accelerated in aortic cultures from TIMP-1- and TIMP-2-deficient mice. The vascular survival effect of anti-MT1-MMP antibodies and TIMPs with MT1-MMP inhibitory activity was associated with complete inhibition of collagen lysis. In contrast, TIMP-1 had no anticollagenolytic effect. These results indicate that MT1-MMP plays a critical role not only in angiogenesis but also in vascular regression and demonstrate that TIMPs with anti-MT1-MMP activity have opposite effects on angiogenic outcomes depending on the stage of the angiogenic process. This study also suggests the existence of a TIMP-1-mediated alternate pathway of vascular survival that is unrelated to MT1-MMP inhibitory activity.

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