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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2004 Aug;287(2):L307-17. Epub 2004 Apr 9.

Matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 expression increases in Mycoplasma-infected airways but is not required for microvascular remodeling.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130, USA.


Murine Mycoplasma pulmonis infection induces chronic lung and airway inflammation accompanied by profound and persistent microvascular remodeling in tracheobronchial mucosa. Because matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 are important for angiogenesis associated with placental and long bone development and skin cancer, we hypothesized that they contribute to microvascular remodeling in airways infected with M. pulmonis. To test this hypothesis, we compared microvascular changes in airways after M. pulmonis infection of wild-type FVB/N mice with those of MMP-9(-/-) and MMP-2(-/-)/MMP-9(-/-) double-null mice and mice treated with the broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor AG3340 (Prinomastat). Using zymography and immunohistochemistry, we find that MMP-2 and MMP-9 rise strikingly in lungs and airways of infected wild-type FVB/N and C57BL/6 mice, with no zymographic activity or immunoreactivity in MMP-2(-/-)/MMP-9(-/-) animals. However, microvascular remodeling as assessed by Lycopersicon esculentum lectin staining of whole-mounted tracheae is as severe in infected MMP-9(-/-), MMP-2(-/-)/MMP-9(-/-) and AG3340-treated mice as in wild-type mice. Furthermore, all groups of infected mice develop similar inflammatory infiltrates and exhibit similar overall disease severity as indicated by decrease in body weight and increase in lung weight. Uninfected wild-type tracheae show negligible MMP-2 immunoreactivity, with scant MMP-9 immunoreactivity in and around growing cartilage. By contrast, MMP-2 appears in epithelial cells of infected, wild-type tracheae, and MMP-9 localizes to a large population of infiltrating leukocytes. We conclude that despite major increases in expression, MMP-2 and MMP-9 are not essential for microvascular remodeling in M. pulmonis-induced chronic airway inflammation.

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