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Lab Invest. 1998 Sep;78(9):1077-87.

Matrix metalloproteinase-mediated extracellular matrix protein degradation in human pulmonary emphysema.

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Second Department of Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


The aim of this study was to investigate the extracellular degrading proteolytic cascade proteins referred to as matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), MMP-2, MMP-9, membrane-type matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MT1-MMP), tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), TIMP-2, neutrophil elastase, and alpha1-antitrypsin in human pulmonary emphysema. Localization of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-8, MMP-9, MT1-MMP, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 was verified by immunohistochemical analysis. The results of our study indicated that the immunoreactivity of MMP-1, MMP-8, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 was absent, whereas MT1-MMP and MMP-2 were mainly observed in pneumocytes, fibroblasts, and alveolar macrophages. Although MT1-MMP and MMP-2 were observed both in emphysematous and normal lung tissue, these immunoreactivities were intense in the emphysematous samples. The presence of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 was confirmed at mRNA level by reverse transcription-PCR analysis and enzyme immunoassay (EIA). However, the only statistical difference that was observed was in MMP-2 and MMP-9 (MMP-2: emphysematous samples, 19.1+/-2.1 versus control samples, 5.2+/-0.60 microg/g protein, p < 0.05; MMP-9: emphysematous samples, 18.4+/-5.6 versus control samples, 8.1+/-2.7 microg/g protein, p < 0.05). Results of the neutrophil elastase as analyzed by EIA, and alpha1-antitrypsin levels as detected by laser nephelometric immunoassay, indicated no statistical difference between the emphysematous and control groups. In addition to the presence of mRNA levels, the level of MT1-MMP according to immunoblot analysis increased in the emphysematous samples. Gelatin zymographic analysis confirmed the presence of both pro and active forms of MMP-2, and the increased ratio of the active form of MMP-2 in emphysematous samples (25.9%+/-2.0% versus 11.2%+/-3.3%, p < 0.05), indicated in situ activation of MMP-2 by MT1-MMP. Elastin zymographic analysis showed elastolytic activity by MMP-2 and MMP-9 but not the reported band of macrophage metalloelastase (MMP-12). The data suggest that the MT1-MMP/MMP-2/TIMP-2 system plays a significant role in the MMP-mediated extracellular matrix degradation and tissue remodeling of emphysematous lungs, and thus may contribute to the weakening of lung parenchyma and lead to the formation of emphysema.

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