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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) degrades both fibrillar collagens and elastin. MMP-2 is secreted as a latent 72-kd proenzyme that must be proteolytically processed to the 62-kd active form. In our laboratory we demonstrated a significant increase of active, matrix-bound MMP-2 in abdominal aortic aneurysmal (AAA) tissue compared with nonaneurysmal aorta with arteriosclerotic occlusive disease and normal aortic tissue. This increase in active MMP-2 is considered to be important in aneurysm pathogenesis, but the mechanism of its activation in aortic tissue is unknown. Membrane type-1 MMP (MT-1 MMP) is known to be an activator of MMP-2. The purpose of this study was to determine MT-1 MMP expression and its involvement in pro-MMP-2 activation in human aneurysmal tissue. METHODS: Infrarenal aortic tissue was obtained during the surgical repair of AAAs or the bypass of aortoiliac occlusive disease, or from nondiseased aorta, and the expression of MT-1 MMP messenger RNA was determined with Northern blot analysis. MT-1 MMP protein was determined with immunoblot and immunohistochemistry. The ability of aortic tissue to activate pro-MMP-2 was analyzed by incubating aortic tissue with exogenous radiolabeled pro-MMP-2. RESULTS: MT-1 MMP messenger RNA and protein are increased in AAA (P <.05) compared with arteriosclerotic occlusive disease and normal aortic tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis localized MT-1 MMP to aortic smooth muscle cells and macrophages in aneurysmal tissue. AAA tissue demonstrated a greater capacity to activate exogenous pro-MMP-2 compared with atherosclerotic and normal aortic tissue (P <.05). CONCLUSION: These studies demonstrate that MT-1 MMP is increased in AAA tissue and suggest that it may be important in AAA pathogenesis through its ability to activate pro-MMP-2

Original publication




Journal article


J vasc surg

Publication Date





316 - 322


Aorta, Abdominal, Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal, Cells, Cultured, Humans, Matrix Metalloproteinase 1, Matrix Metalloproteinase 2, RNA, Messenger