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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2002;53(2):105-11.

Human endometrial epithelial cells modulate the activation of gelatinase a by stromal cells.

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  • 1Department of Tumor, University of Liège, Belgium.


Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are central effectors in endometrial physiology. Their production is tightly regulated by ovarian steroids and cytokines. Using zymography, we investigated MMP-2 production by human endometrial cells treated with estradiol-17beta + progesterone (E(2)+P) and by various key cytokines in endometrial physiology (IL-1beta, LIF, TGF-beta, and TNF-alpha). No gelatinase activity was detected in the culture media of epithelial cells. In basal conditions, stromal cells produced the pro form of MMP-2. MMP-2 production/activation was not directly affected by cytokine treatment. Interestingly, activated MMP-2 was only detected after treatment of stromal cells with culture medium from epithelial cells. Cytokine treatment of epithelial cells increased the capacity of conditioned medium to stimulate stromal cells to activate MMP-2. As the tissue inhibitor of MMP-2 (TIMP-2) is a regulator of gelatinase A activity, its concentration was measured by ELISA. TIMP-2 production by stromal cells was not affected by cytokines or by epithelial cell-conditioned medium. These results strongly suggest that regulation of stromal MMP-2 activation involves soluble factor(s) derived from the epithelial compartment.

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