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Margrit Hollborn, Christina Stathopoulos, Anja Steffen, Peter Wiedemann, Leon Kohen, Andreas Bringmann; Positive Feedback Regulation between MMP-9 and VEGF in Human RPE Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(9):4360-4367. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-1234.
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purpose. The proteolytic activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is involved in pathologic angiogenesis in the eye. However, it is unknown whether MMPs may stimulate the production of the major angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The authors investigated whether MMP-2 and MMP-9 alter the expression of VEGF by retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. They also sought to determine the effects of MMPs on cellular proliferation and migration and the effect of triamcinolone acetonide on MMP-9–evoked cellular responses.
methods. Human RPE cell cultures were stimulated with MMP-2 or MMP-9. The gene expression and secretion of MMP-9 and VEGF were determined by real-time RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. Cellular proliferation was investigated with a bromodeoxyuridine immunoassay, and chemotaxis was examined with a Boyden chamber assay.
results. Under control conditions, RPE cells in vitro expressed a significantly higher amount of mRNA for MMP-2 than for MMP-9. Chemical hypoxia caused upregulation of the gene expression of both MMPs, whereas VEGF increased the gene expression and secretion of MMP-9. The hypoxic expression of MMP-9 was mediated by autocrine VEGF signaling. Exogenous MMP-9 increased the gene expression and secretion of VEGF, whereas MMP-2 reduced the secretion of VEGF. MMP-2 and MMP-9 did not alter the proliferation but stimulated the migration of RPE cells. Triamcinolone fully inhibited the stimulatory effect of MMP-9 on the expression of VEGF and the VEGF-evoked increase in the expression of MMP-9. However, triamcinolone had no effect on the motogenic effect of MMP-9.
conclusions. There is a positive feedback regulation between MMP-9 and VEGF in RPE cells. The hypoxic expression of MMP-9 may stimulate the production and secretion of VEGF under pathologic conditions. Triamcinolone inhibits the positive feedback regulation between MMP-9 and VEGF under hypoxic conditions through inhibition of the gene expression of MMP-9 and the secretion of VEGF.
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