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BACKGROUND: Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) displays pleiotropic activities, both dependent and independent of its inhibitory activity on matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). In the central nervous system (CNS), TIMP-1 is strongly upregulated in reactive astrocytes and cortical neurons following excitotoxic/inflammatory stimuli, but no information exists on its effects on growth and morphology of cortical neurons. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that 24 h incubation with recombinant TIMP-1 induced a 35% reduction in neurite length and significantly increased growth cones size and the number of F-actin rich microprocesses. TIMP-1 mediated reduction in neurite length affected both dendrites and axons after 48 h treatment. The effects on neurite length and morphology were not elicited by a mutated form of TIMP-1 inactive against MMP-1, -2 and -3, and still inhibitory for MMP-9, but were mimicked by a broad spectrum MMP inhibitor. MMP-9 was poorly expressed in developing cortical neurons, unlike MMP-2 which was present in growth cones and whose selective inhibition caused neurite length reductions similar to those induced by TIMP-1. Moreover, TIMP-1 mediated changes in cytoskeleton reorganisation were not accompanied by modifications in the expression levels of actin, betaIII-tubulin, or microtubule assembly regulatory protein MAP2c. Transfection-mediated overexpression of TIMP-1 dramatically reduced neuritic arbour extension in the absence of detectable levels of released extracellular TIMP-1. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, TIMP-1 emerges as a modulator of neuronal outgrowth and morphology in a paracrine and autrocrine manner through the inhibition, at least in part, of MMP-2 and not MMP-9. These findings may help us understand the role of the MMP/TIMP system in post-lesion pre-scarring conditions.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0008289

Type

Journal article

Journal

Plos one

Publication Date

14/12/2009

Volume

4

Keywords

Actins, Animals, Cell Shape, Cell Survival, Cells, Cultured, Cerebral Cortex, Cytoskeletal Proteins, Cytoskeleton, Enzyme Inhibitors, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Growth Cones, Humans, Matrix Metalloproteinase 9, Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors, Mice, Mutant Proteins, Neurites, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1