Expression and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 in rat brain after transient focal cerebral ischemia

A M Planas, S Solé, C Justicia
Neurobiology of Disease 2001, 8 (5): 834-46
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) degrade the extracellular matrix and carry out key functions during development and after injury. By means of zymography, Western blot and immunohistochemistry, we studied MMP-2 (gelatinase A) and MMP-9 (gelatinase B) in rat brain after focal cerebral ischemia. The control rat brain showed constitutive MMP-2 and, to a lesser extent, MMP-9, which were mainly present as prozymogens. MMP-2 protein was located in the cell body of neurons, glia, and endothelium, whereas MMP-9 was associated to neurons and myelinated fibre tracts. Ischemia greatly increased MMP activation in two temporal waves, in the first one, MMP-9 protein was induced from 4 h to 4 days, and also a small and short-lasting increase in MMP-2 was detected at 4 h. The second wave showed a massive increase in MMP-2 protein expression and activation by day 4, which was compatible with abundant MMP-2 in reactive microglia/macrophages. Our results are compatible with progressive induction of MMP-9 proform, likely in neurons, shortly after ischemia. For MMP-2, the results suggest a discrete production immediately after reperfusion, while a very enhanced expression and activation of MMP-2 attributable to microglia/macrophages occurs on day 4, and it might contribute to the phagocytic action of these reactive cells.

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