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Exp Cell Res. 1999 Aug 25;251(1):67-78.

Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (gelatinase A) is related to migration of keratinocytes.

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Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.


The role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in cell migration was studied by measuring cell growth, migration, and production of MMP-2 and -9 in oral mucosal and skin keratinocytes cultured in the presence of synthetic MMP inhibitors. MMP-2 was the major gelatinolytic MMP produced by these cells while MMP-9 was produced at a low basal level. Inhibitor effects on MMP-9 production were therefore studied in keratinocytes stimulated by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). Tetracycline analogues at concentrations that inhibited the production of MMP-2 but not MMP-9 were able to drastically inhibit migration of both mucosal and skin keratinocytes. Tetracycline analogues also inhibited keratinocyte growth, an effect not found for the other inhibitors tested. Heterocyclic carbonate-derived compounds (LWs) that inhibited MMP-9 but not MMP-2 production had no effect on cell migration. Batimastat, a potent MMP inhibitor, did not have any effect on MMP production or cell growth but did inhibit keratinocyte migration. Tumor growth factor beta (TGFbeta) increased keratinocyte migration as well as both cell-associated and secreted MMP-2 production in wounded cell cultures. The secreted enzyme was partially converted into an active form. In this model batimastat totally blocked TGFbeta-promoted keratinocyte migration. Immunostaining of keratinocytes advancing into the wound revealed that MMP-2 was localized in extracellular matrix contactlike structures against the endogenously produced laminin-5-rich matrix. MMP-9 was localized diffusely along the cell membranes. Using in situ hybridization we observed that in chronically inflamed human gingiva MMP-2 is expressed in epithelium extending into subepithelial connective tissue. These results suggest that MMP-2 plays a specific role in epithelial migration, possibly by detaching the advancing cells from the pericellular matrix or by activating other MMPs.

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