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Exp Dermatol. 2000 Feb;9(1):34-41.

Fibroblasts surrounding melanoma express elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in vitro.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Leipzig, Germany.


Tumour growth and metastasis involve the degradation of extracellular matrix components by matrix degrading enzymes produced by tumour cells and stromal fibroblasts. In this study, fibroblasts were obtained from biopsies on the border (TB) and 1 cm distant from the melanoma (TD) and cultured separately. Similar studies were performed with fibroblasts surrounding melanocytic nevi as control. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) mRNA and tissue matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor 1 (TIMP-1) were studied by Northern blot analysis. The activation antigen intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in TB-and TD-fibroblasts was investigated by flow cytometry. In melanoma, TB-fibroblasts showed an increased expression of MMP-1 mRNA mainly in fibroblasts obtained from tumours with extended invasive growth demonstrated by Clark level whereas the expression of the major specific inhibitor TIMP-1 was unaltered. In contrast, fibroblasts surrounding benign melanocytic nevi did not express elevated levels of MMP-1. The upregulation of MMP-1 in TB-fibroblasts compared to TD-fibroblasts was maintained during cultivation. Furthermore, MMP-1 mRNA expression and MMP-1 total protein amount in normal fibroblasts were increased by melanoma cell conditioned medium. We demonstrated an increased expression of ICAM-1 in TB-fibroblasts compared to TD-fibroblasts in vitro depending on the amount of inflammatory infiltrate in situ. The differences of ICAM expression disappeared during continued cell culture. These results support the idea that fibroblasts surrounding melanoma are activated and are possibly involved in the degradation of matrix proteins surrounding the tumour.

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