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Dig Dis Sci. 2004 Apr;49(4):653-61.

Differential expression of three matrix metalloproteinases, MMP-19, MMP-26, and MMP-28, in normal and inflamed intestine and colon cancer.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Several matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been implicated in intestinal inflammation, mucosal wound healing, and cancer progression. The purpose of this study was to examine the cellular location and putative function of MMP-19, MMP-26 (matrilysin-2), and MMP-28 (epilysin), in normal, inflammatory, and malignant conditions of the intestine. Peroperative tissue specimens from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) (n = 16) and archival tissue samples of ischemic colitis (n = 9), Crohn's disease (n = 7), UC (n = 8), colon cancer (n = 20), and healthy intestine (n = 5) were examined using immunohistochemical analyses with polyclonal antibodies. Unlike many classical MMPs, MMP-19, MMP-26, and MMP-28 were all expressed in normal intestine. In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), MMP- 19 was expressed in nonmigrating enterocytes and shedding epithelium. MMP-26 was detected in migrating enterocytes, unlike MMP-28. In colon carcinomas, MMP-19 and MMP-28 expression was downregulated in tumor epithelium. Staining for MMP-26 revealed a meshwork-like pattern between cancer islets, which was absent from most dedifferentiated areas. Our results suggest that MMP-19 is involved in epithelial proliferation and MMP-26 in enterocyte migration, while MMP-28 expression is not associated with inflammatory and destructive changes seen in IBD. In contrast to many previously characterized MMPs, MMP-19 and MMP-28 are downregulated during malignant transformation of the colon and may play a prominent role in tissue homeostasis.

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