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Matrix Biol. 2007 Jan;26(1):42-53. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

The role of osteopontin in tendon tissue remodeling after denervation-induced mechanical stress deprivation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


It has been shown that musculoskeletal tissues undergo dynamic tissue remodeling by a process that is quite sensitive to the mechanical environment. However, the detailed molecular mechanism underlying this process remains unclear. We demonstrate here that after denervation-induced mechanical stress deprivation, tendons undergo dynamic tissue remodeling as evidenced by a significant reduction of the collagen fibril diameter. Importantly, the transient up-regulation of osteopontin (OPN) expression was characteristic during the early phase of tendon tissue remodeling. Following this dynamic change of OPN expression, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 expression was induced, which presumably accounts for the morphological changes of tendon by degrading tendon collagen fibrils. The modulation of MMP-13 expression by OPN was specific, since the expression of MMP-2, which is also known to be involved in tissue remodeling, did not alter in the tendons under the absence or presence of OPN. We also demonstrate that the modulation of MMP-13 expression by OPN is due to the signaling through cell surface receptors for OPN. Thus, we conclude that OPN plays a crucial role in conveying the effect of denervation-induced mechanical stress deprivation to the tendon fibroblasts to degrade the extracellular matrices by regulating MMP-13 expression in tendon fibroblasts.

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