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Matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in hamster aortic atherosclerosis: correlation with in-situ zymography

      Abstract

      Atherogenesis requires extracellular matrix (ECM) alterations, a process possibly mediated by matrix-degrading metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their endogenous tissue inhibitors (TIMPs). The objective of this study was to examine the immunohistochemical expression patterns of MMPs-1, -2, -3 and -9 and their tissue inhibitors, TIMPs-1, -2, -3 and -4 during the three major stages of atherosclerotic lesion development in hypercholesterolemic Syrian Golden hamsters. Aortic atherosclerotic lesions (fatty streak, fibro-fatty and advanced) were histologically characterized in treated hamsters at 12, 24, and 49 weeks. The immunochemistry expression of these MMPs and TIMPs were examined in treated aortic sections with lesions and control aortic sections without lesions. MMP activity in control aortas and atherosclerotic lesions was characterized by in-situ zymography. Positive immunoreactivity for MMPs-2, -3, -9 and TIMPs-1, -2,-3, and -4 was observed in both control and atherosclerotic aortic arch segments, while MMP-1 was only observed in atherosclerotic lesions. Using in-situ zymography, we identified casein and gelatin degradation in fatty streak, fibro-fatty and advanced lesions. The immunohistochemical expression of these MMPs and TIMPs were examined in treated aortic sections with lesions and control aortic sections without lesions. In all lesion stages, substrate degradation was inhibited with 1,10-phenanthroline. Degradation of these substrates was not observed in control aortas. In addition, substrate degradation was inhibited with 1,10-phenanthroline. These findings suggested that in control segments, the net proteolytic balance was shifted in favor of MMP inhibition. Alternatively, despite the colocalization of MMPs and TIMPs in the treated segments, net proteolytic balance favored the catalytic MMPs.

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