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Inflammation is a central mechanism for dealing with insults to tissue, either from pathogenic invaders or by other damage-inducing means, such that the threat is removed, the tissue is healed and there is a return to homeostasis. It is a multi-step process with manifold methods of regulation built in. Proteolysis is one such regulatory method and members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of proteinases have been shown to influence inflammation in myriad of ways. It is becoming more and more clear that no single MMP can be unequivocally labeled as 'good' or 'bad' when considering inflammation in general - the net result of proteolytic activity is dependent on context. Here we provide examples from recent literature, with a focus on in vivo studies, to highlight this concept. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Matrix Metalloproteinases edited by Rafael Fridman.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Tumor microvasculature tends to be malformed, more permeable, and more tortuous than vessels in healthy tissue, effects that have been largely attributed to up-regulated VEGF expression. However, tumor tissue tends to stiffen during solid tumor progression, and tissue stiffness is known to alter cell behaviors including proliferation, migration, and cell-cell adhesion, which are all requisite for angiogenesis. Using in vitro, in vivo, and ex ovo models, we investigated the effects of matrix stiffness on vessel growth and integrity during angiogenesis. Our data indicate that angiogenic outgrowth, invasion, and neovessel branching increase with matrix cross-linking. These effects are caused by increased matrix stiffness independent of matrix density, because increased matrix density results in decreased angiogenesis. Notably, matrix stiffness up-regulates matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, and inhibiting MMPs significantly reduces angiogenic outgrowth in stiffer cross-linked gels. To investigate the functional significance of altered endothelial cell behavior in response to matrix stiffness, we measured endothelial cell barrier function on substrates mimicking the stiffness of healthy and tumor tissue. Our data indicate that barrier function is impaired and the localization of vascular endothelial cadherin is altered as function of matrix stiffness. These results demonstrate that matrix stiffness, separately from matrix density, can alter vascular growth and integrity, mimicking the changes that exist in tumor vasculature. These data suggest that therapeutically targeting tumor stiffness or the endothelial cell response to tumor stiffening may help restore vessel structure, minimize metastasis, and aid in drug delivery.
Matrix metalloproteinases have long been associated with cancer. Clinical trials of small molecule inhibitors for this family of enzymes however, were spectacularly unsuccessful in a variety of tumor types. Here, we discuss some of the newer roles that have been uncovered for MMPs in cancer that would not have been targeted with those initial inhibitors or in the patient populations analyzed. We also consider novel ways of using cancer-associated MMP activity for clinical benefit.
Copyright © 2015 International Society of Matrix Biology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Activin A (Act A) is a member of the TGFβ superfamily. Act A and TGFβ have multiple common downstream targets and have been described to merge in their intracellular signaling cascades and function. We have previously demonstrated that coordinated loss of E-cadherin and TGFβ receptor II (TβRII) results in epithelial cell invasion. When grown in three-dimensional organotypic reconstruct cultures, esophageal keratinocytes expressing dominant-negative mutants of E-cadherin and TβRII showed activated Smad2 in the absence of functional TβRII. However, we could show that increased levels of Act A secretion was able to induce Smad2 phosphorylation. Growth factor secretion can activate autocrine and paracrine signaling, which affects crosstalk between the epithelial compartment and the surrounding microenvironment. We show that treatment with the Act A antagonist Follistatin or with a neutralizing Act A antibody can increase cell invasion in organotypic cultures in a fibroblast- and MMP-dependent manner. Similarly, suppression of Act A with shRNA increases cell invasion and tumorigenesis in vivo. Therefore, we conclude that maintaining a delicate balance of Act A expression is critical for homeostasis in the esophageal microenvironment.
PURPOSE - Patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and residual disease after neoadjuvant chemotherapy generally have worse outcome; however, some patients with residual tumor after neoadjuvant chemotherapy do not relapse. We hypothesize that there are subgroups of patients with chemoresistant TNBC with different prognosis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - Forty-nine chemoresistant cases from 111 patients with TNBC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX) constituted the discovery cohort, and 25 chemoresistant samples from 47 neoadjuvant chemotherapy-treated TNBC (The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX) were chosen for validation. Extended validation was carried out in 269 operable TNBC predicted to be chemoresistant by expression pattern from published datasets.
RESULTS - We established a seven-gene prognostic signature using dChip and gene set enrichment analyses. In the independent validation cohort, the classifier predicted correctly with positive predictive value of 75.0% and negative predictive value (i.e., relapse-free survival; RFS) of 76.9% at 3 years. Those predicted to relapse had a HR of 4.67 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.27-17.15] for relapse in 3 years. In extended validation, patients predicted not to relapse exhibited 3-year RFS of 78.9%, whereas the 3-year RFS was 48.5% for patients predicted to relapse, with HR of 2.61 (95% CI: 1.52-4.49). The TNBC subgroup that predicted to have relatively favorable prognosis was characterized by high expression of "luminal-like" genes [androgen-receptor (AR) and GATA3], whereas the subgroup with worse prognosis was characterized by expression of cancer stem-cell markers.
CONCLUSION - We developed a clinically relevant signature for patients with chemoresistant TNBC. For these women, new therapeutic strategies like targeting AR activation or cancer stem cells may need to be developed.
Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide and is projected to rise to tenth in all-cause mortality in the near term. Early detection requires improved sensitivity and specificity of endoscopic imaging with novel methods. The objective of this study was to evaluate the utility of activatable molecular probes for the detection of gastric cancer both in vivo and ex vivo in a preclinical model. Smad4⁺/⁻ mice, which develop spontaneous gastric neoplasia, were compared to normal wild-type controls. Cathepsin-activatable and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-activatable molecular probes were injected 24 hours and 6 hours before imaging, respectively. In vivo imaging was performed using quantitative tomographic near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging. For validation, ex vivo imaging and histologic examination were performed. Molecular imaging in vivo of Smad4⁺/⁻ gastric cancer murine models revealed intense activation of both cathepsin B and MMP probes. Ex vivo imaging and histology confirmed that the detected neoplasms were adenocarcinomas and hyperplastic lesions. This study provides proof of principle that the cathepsin- and MMP-activatable molecular probes are activated in the Smad4⁺/⁻ murine model of spontaneous gastric adenocarcinoma and can be imaged by both in vivo and ex vivo NIRF methods. The cathepsin probe also detects hyperplastic lesions.
INTRODUCTION - Recent studies reported that human IgG antibodies are susceptible to specific proteolytic cleavage in their lower hinge region, and the hinge cleavage results in a loss of Fc-mediated effector functions. Trastuzumab is a humanized IgG1 therapeutic monoclonal antibody for the treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers, and its mechanisms of action consist of inhibition of HER2 signaling and Fc-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). The objective of this study is to investigate the potential effect of proteinase hinge cleavage on the efficacy of trastuzumab using both a breast cancer cell culture method and an in vivo mouse xenograft tumor model.
METHODS - Trastuzumab antibody was incubated with a panel of human matrix metalloproteinases, and proteolytic cleavage in the lower hinge region was detected using both western blotting and mass spectrometry. Single hinge cleaved trastuzumab (scIgG-T) was purified and evaluated for its ability to mediate ADCC and inhibition of breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro as well as anti-tumor efficacy in the mouse xenograft tumor model. Infiltrated immune cells were detected in tumor tissues by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - scIgG-T retains HER2 antigen binding activity and inhibits HER2-mediated downstream signaling and cell proliferation in vitro when compared with the intact trastuzumab. However, scIgG-T lost Fc-mediated ADCC activity in vitro, and had significantly reduced anti-tumor efficacy in a mouse xenograft tumor model. Immunohistochemistry showed reduced immune cell infiltration in tumor tissues treated with scIgG-T when compared with those treated with the intact trastuzumab, which is consistent with the decreased ADCC mediated by scIgG-T in vitro.
CONCLUSION - Trastuzumab can be cleaved by matrix metalloproteinases within the lower hinge. scIgG-T exhibited a significantly reduced anti-tumor efficacy in vivo due to the weakened immune effector function such as ADCC. The results suggest that the lower hinge cleavage of trastuzumab can occur in the tumor microenvironment where matrix metalloproteinases often have high levels of expression and scIgG-T might compromise its anti-tumor efficacy in the clinic. However, further studies are needed to validate these hypotheses in the clinical setting.
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common known genetic form of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. FXS patients suffer a broad range of other neurological symptoms, including hyperactivity, disrupted circadian activity cycles, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and childhood seizures. The high incidence and devastating effects of this disease state make finding effective pharmacological treatments imperative. Recently, reports in both mouse and Drosophila FXS disease models have indicated that the tetracycline derivative minocycline may hold great therapeutic promise for FXS patients. Both models strongly suggest that minocycline acts on the FXS disease state via inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a class of zinc-dependent extracellular proteases important in tissue remodeling and cell-cell signaling. Recent FXS clinical trials indicate that minocycline may be effective in treating human patients. In this paper, we summarize the recent studies in Drosophila and mouse FXS disease models and human FXS patients, which indicate that minocycline may be an effective FXS therapeutic treatment, and discuss the data forming the basis for the proposed minocycline mechanism of action as an MMP inhibitor.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the leading cause of gastrointestinal morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. NEC is characterized by an exaggerated inflammatory response to bacterial flora leading to bowel necrosis. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mediates inflammation through TLR4 activation and is a key molecule in the pathogenesis of NEC. However, LPS also induces cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which promotes intestinal barrier restitution through stimulation of intestinal cell survival, proliferation, and migration. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation prevents experimental NEC and may play a critical role in LPS-stimulated COX-2 production. We hypothesized that EGFR is required for LPS induction of COX-2 expression. Our data show that inhibiting EGFR kinase activity blocks LPS-induced COX-2 expression in small intestinal epithelial cells. LPS induction of COX-2 requires Src-family kinase signaling while LPS transactivation of EGFR requires matrix metalloprotease (MMP) activity. EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors block LPS stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK, suggesting an important role of the MAPK/ERK pathway in EGFR-mediated COX-2 expression. LPS stimulates proliferation of IEC-6 cells, but this stimulation is inhibited with either the EGFR kinase inhibitor AG1478, or the selective COX-2 inhibitor Celecoxib. Taken together, these data show that EGFR plays an important role in LPS-induction of COX-2 expression in enterocytes, which may be one mechanism for EGF in inhibition of NEC.
BACKGROUND - Transient changes in the composition of the myocardial extracellular matrix may contribute to the ventricular systolic dysfunction in stress-induced cardiomyopathy (SIC). We examined the changes in plasma matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) that occur early after the clinical presentation of SIC.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Ten patients with SIC were enrolled. Plasma concentrations of the 6 major MMPs (1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 9) and all 4 TIMPs (1, 2, 3, and 4) were analyzed and compared with data from 15 control subjects. Within 24 hours of the clinical presentation, SIC patients had lower MMP-1 levels (0.41 ± 0.13 vs 0.70 ± 0.13 pg/mL; P = .048) and MMP-8 levels (1.61 ± 0.34 vs 4.84 ± 1.38 pg/mL; P = .001) and higher TIMP-4 levels (3.06 ± 0.40 vs 2.16 ± 0.18 pg/mL; P = .05) compared with control. Seven of 9 SIC patients had elevated LV end-diastolic pressures, and all had normal LV end-diastolic dimensions and volumes.
CONCLUSIONS - Patients afflicted with SIC had MMP and TIMP profiles similar to those described in hypertensive heart disease and diastolic heart failure and different from the profiles following myocardial infarction. Our findings uncovered a unique biomolecular profile in SIC during the first 24 hours of presentation.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.