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Photochem Photobiol. 2003 Jul;78(1):43-8.

Matrix metalloproteinase-1 is the major collagenolytic enzyme responsible for collagen damage in UV-irradiated human skin.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Punch biopsies of human skin were obtained 1 day after irradiation with two minimal-erythema doses (MED) from either a UVB light source or a Solar Simulator and incubated in organ culture for 72 h. Organ culture fluids obtained at 24, 48 and 72 h were analyzed for collagenolytic activity and for reactivity with antibodies to matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1; interstitial collagenase) and MMP-13 (collagenase-3). High levels of collagenolytic activity were seen in organ culture fluid from skin exposed to either light source. MMP-1 was strongly induced in parallel, increasing from less than 100 ng/ml in organ culture fluid from control skin to approximately 1.1 microg/ml in culture fluid from UV-treated skin. Whereas most of the detectable MMP-1 in control culture fluid was represented by the latent form of the enzyme, approximately 50% of the enzyme was present as the active form in organ culture fluid of UV-exposed skin. In contrast, there was no detectable MMP-13 in control organ culture fluid and very little change after UV exposure (less than 100 ng/ml in both cases). Finally, neutralization studies with a blocking antibody to MMP-1 removed 95 +/- 4% of the collagenolytic activity in the organ culture fluid from UV-treated skin. These findings strongly implicate MMP-1 rather than MMP-13 as the major collagenolytic enzyme responsible for collagen damage in photoaging.

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