Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular zinc-dependent endopeptidases involved in the degradation and remodelling of extracellular matrix in physiological and pathological processes. MMPs also have a role on cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, angiogenesis and apoptosis. Umbilical cord is a special organ subjected to many changes during pre-natal life and whose cells can maintain a certain degree of plasticity also in post-natal period; for example recently they have been used as a source of stem cells. In this work we investigated the expression of MMPs in human umbilical cord and Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) though immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and gelatin zymography. MMP-2 protein is expressed in the amniotic epithelium of human umbilical cord and in few sub-epithelial fibroblasts, while MMP-3 and MMP-10 only in the umbilical epithelium. MMP-8, MMP-9 and MMP-13 immunoreactivity is localised in the epithelium and in Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal cells. Immunocytochemistry also revealed protein expression for MMP-2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 in cultured HUVEC.In agreement with immunohistochemical data, RT-PCR analysis performed on samples of whole umbilical cord confirmed the transcriptional expression for the genes encoding all the six matrix metalloproteinases investigated, while in HUVEC only the expression of MMP-2, 3, 9, 10 and 13 mRNAs was detected. Gelatin zymograpgy showed a clear MMP-2 and MMP-9 enzymatic activity in the conditioned medium of HUVEC at different culture passages, suggesting that HUVEC secrete gelatinases, that afterwards undergo extracellular activation, and this ability is not affected by passage number.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Molecular Histology|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|