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Gastroenterology. 2005 Dec;129(6):1991-2008.

Targeted deletion of metalloproteinase 9 attenuates experimental colitis in mice: central role of epithelial-derived MMP.

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Division of Digestive Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



There is mounting evidence that matrix metalloproteinases are the predominant proteinases expressed in the gut mucosa during active inflammatory bowel disease. We investigated the role of metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), a secreted gelatinase that is consistently up-regulated in both animal models and human inflammatory bowel disease and is associated with disease severity, in the pathogenesis of colitis by using mice containing a targeted deletion of the MMP-9 gene.


Dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis and Salmonella typhimurium-induced enterocolitis were used as animal models to study colitis.


MMP-9 activity and protein expression were absent from normal colonic mucosa but were up-regulated during experimental colitis. MMP-9-/- mice exposed to dextran sodium sulfate or salmonella had a significantly reduced extent and severity of colitis. Immunohistochemical studies showed that MMP-9 was localized to epithelial cells and granulocytes during active colitis. The immune response to systemic administration of Salmonella typhimurium was not affected in MMP-9-/- mice. Neutrophil transmigration studies and bone marrow chimeras showed that neutrophil MMP-9 is neither required for its migration nor sufficient to induce tissue damage during colitis and that epithelial MMP-9 is important for tissue damage. MMP-9 inhibited cell attachment and wound healing in the model intestinal epithelial cell line, Caco2-BBE.


Taken together, our data suggest that MMP-9 expressed by epithelial cells may play an important role in the development of colitis by modulating cell-matrix interaction and wound healing. Thus, strategies to inhibit MMP-9 may be of potential therapeutic benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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