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Am J Pathol. 2010 Dec;177(6):2870-85. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090050. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Matrix metalloproteinase-9 and cell division in neuroblastoma cells and bone marrow macrophages.

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Department of Brain Ischemia and Neurodegeneration, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques de Barcelona-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, E-08036, Barcelona, Spain.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) degrade the extracellular matrix and carry out key functions in cell development, cancer, injury, and regeneration. In addition to its well recognized extracellular action, functional intracellular MMP activity under certain conditions is supported by increasing evidence. In this study, we observed higher gelatinase activity by in situ zymography and increased MMP-9 immunoreactivity in human neuroblastoma cells and in bone marrow macrophages undergoing mitosis compared with resting cells. We studied the pattern of immunoreactivity at the different stages of cell division by confocal microscopy. Immunostaining with different monoclonal antibodies against MMP-9 revealed a precise, dynamic, and well orchestrated localization of MMP-9 at the different stages of cell division. The cellular distribution of MMP-9 staining was studied in relation to that of microtubules. The spatial pattern of MMP-9 immunoreactivity suggested some participation in both the reorganization of the nuclear content and the process of chromatid segmentation. We then used several MMP-9 inhibitors to find out whether MMP-9 might be involved in the cell cycle. These drugs impaired the entry of cells into mitosis, as revealed by flow cytometry, and reduced cell culture growth. In addition, the silencing of MMP-9 expression with small interfering RNA also reduced cell growth. Taken together, these results suggest that intracellular MMP-9 is involved in the process of cell division in neuroblastoma cells and in primary cultures of macrophages.

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