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Gastroenterology. 2003 Feb;124(2):445-58.

Delivery of matrix metalloproteinase-1 attenuates established liver fibrosis in the rat.

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Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.



During hepatic fibrogenesis, the hepatic extracellular matrix changes to fibrillar collagens types I and III, and cirrhosis is believed to produce an irreversible scar. In this study, we investigated whether gene delivery of human matrix metalloproteinase-1, which degrades collagens types I and type III, would attenuate established hepatic fibrosis in the rat, induced by either thioacetamide or bile duct ligation.


Hepatic fibrosis induced by thioacetamide for 7 weeks was persistent for at least 2 months, even after discontinuation of the treatment. The rats were infected once with a recombinant adenovirus, Ad5MMP-1, into which human pro-human matrix metalloproteinase-1 complementary DNA was packaged, or with a control adenovirus, Ad5LacZ.


In Ad5MMP-1-infected, but not in Ad5LacZ-infected, rats, the fibrosis was dramatically attenuated at 2 weeks after the infection. It is interesting to note that the number of activated hepatic stellate cells was also decreased in Ad5MMP-1-infected rats. Moreover, disorganization of the hepatic trabecula, heterogeneity in the size of hepatocytes, and increased dried liver weight were observed only in Ad5MMP-1-treated rats, suggesting that human matrix metalloproteinase-1 stimulated hepatocyte proliferation, which was confirmed by bromodeoxyuridine staining. After 4 weeks, the proliferative effect of human matrix metalloproteinase-1 almost disappeared, but the hepatic fibrosis remained attenuated, whereas the fibrosis in Ad5LacZ-treated rats persisted. Furthermore, the administration of Ad5MMP-1, but not Ad5LacZ, decreased type I collagen and generated a small collagen fragment in hepatic fibrosis induced by bile duct ligation.


Our findings show that transient human matrix metalloproteinase-1 overexpression in the liver effectively attenuates established fibrosis and induces hepatocyte proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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