Tumor necrosis factor-alpha-stimulated membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase production is modulated by epidermal growth factor receptor signaling in human gingival fibroblasts

P C Smith, J Guerrero, N Tobar, M Cáceres, M J González, J Martínez
Journal of Periodontal Research 2009, 44 (1): 73-80

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is a collagenolytic enzyme involved in connective tissue remodeling. In periodontal tissues, either cytokines or growth factors regulate the production of proteolytic enzymes. Mice deficient in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) show a reduced expression of MT1-MMP, suggesting that this receptor may play an important role in MT1-MMP production. The present study evaluated the role of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and EGFR in the production of MT1-MMP in gingival fibroblasts.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Primary cultures of human gingival fibroblasts were cultured over plastic or a type I collagen matrix and stimulated with TNF-alpha and EGF. A selective EGFR inhibitor (AG1478) was used to interfere with this signaling pathway. Production of MT1-MMP and activation of proMMP-2 were studied using Western blot and gelatin zymography, respectively. Activation of EGFR signaling was assessed through immunoprecipitation and Western blot. Expression of EGFR ligands was determined through reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.

RESULTS: Treatment of gingival fibroblasts cultured over a collagen matrix with TNF-alpha stimulated proMMP-2 activation and MT1-MMP production. However, after using AG1478, both responses were inhibited. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha induced EGFR transactivation and stimulated the expression of the mRNA for the EGFR ligands heparin binding-epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that TNF-alpha may stimulate MT1-MMP production through transactivation of EGFR. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha may also modulate the expression of the EGFR ligands TGF-alpha and HB-EGF. Production of MT1-MMP by TNF-alpha requires interaction with EGFR, suggesting that tissue remodeling is controlled by cross-communication between diverse signaling pathways in gingival fibroblasts.

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