Connective tissue growth factor increases matrix metalloproteinase-2 and suppresses tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-2 production by cultured renal interstitial fibroblasts

Min Yang, Haichang Huang, Jingzi Li, Wen Huang, Haiyan Wang
Wound Repair and Regeneration 2007, 15 (6): 817-24
The involvement of gelatinase (matrix metalloproteinase-2 [MMP-2] and MMP-9) in the matrix remodeling and development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis has been studied recently, but relatively little is known about the regulators and the mechanisms controlling the activation and expression of gelatinase in renal fibroblasts. In these studies, the production and underlying signaling pathway for gelatinase by exogenous connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) treatment were investigated. Here, we show that CTGF acts as a potent promoter of the activation and expression of MMP-2, but not MMP-9 in normal rat kidney fibroblasts cell line (NRK-49F). We found that CTGF significantly increased the activity of MMP-2, as well as MMP-2 protein in conditioned medium and MMP-2 mRNA levels in cells. In studies to address the mechanisms involved in the regulation of MMP-2 activity, we found that the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2), the inhibitor of MMP-2, decreased significantly when cells were treated with CTGF. Further studies showed that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling is responsible for most of the CTGF-induced MMP-2 expression and TIMP-2 suppression. When NRK-49F fibroblasts were incubated with CTGF, activation of ERK1/2 signaling was observed. Suppression of ERK1/2 activation with nontoxic concentrations of PD98059, a specific inhibitor of ERK activation, was associated with a reduction of CTGF-stimulated MMP-2 activity and protein expression. In addition, the CTGF-mediated reduction of TIMP-2 activity and protein expression was prevented when ERK1/2 activation was inhibited by PD98059. These results provide evidence that CTGF augments activation of MMP-2 through an effect on MMP-2 protein expression and TIMP-2 suppression, and that these effects are dependent on the activation of the ERK1/2 pathway.

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