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Heidinger, Michael; Kolb, Helmut; Krell, Hans-Willi; Jochum, Marianne; Ries, Christian (2006): Modulation of autocrine TNF-α-stimulated matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) expression by mitogenactivated protein kinases in THP-1 monocytic cells. In: Biological Chemistry, Vol. 387, No. 1: pp. 69-78


Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) is implicated in various physiological processes by its ability to degrade the extracellular matrix (ECM) and process multiple regulatory proteins. Normally, MMP-9 expression is tightly controlled in cells. Sustained or enhanced MMP-9 secretion, however, has been demonstrated to contribute to the pathophysiology of numerous diseases, including arthritis and tumor progression, rendering this enzyme a major target for clinical interventions. Here we show that constitutive MMP-9 secretion was abrogated in THP-1 monocytic leukemia cells by addition of neutralizing antibodies against tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) or TNF receptor type 1 (TNF-R1), as well as by inhibition of TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE). This indicates that MMP-9 production in these cells is maintained by autocrine stimulation, with TNF-α acting via TNF-R1. To investigate the intracellular signaling routes involved in MMP-9 gene transcription, cells were treated with different inhibitors of major mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. Interruption of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway 1/2 (ERK1/2) using PD98059 significantly downregulated constitutive MMP-9 release. In contrast, blockage of p38 kinase activity by addition of SB203580 or SB202190, as well as inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) using L-JNK-I1, clearly augmented MMP-9 expression and secretion by an upregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, exogenously added TNF-α augmented MMP-9 synthesis and secretion in THP-1 cells via enhancement of ERK1/2 activity. Taken together, our results indicate that ERK1/2 activity plays a pivotal role in TNF-α-induced MMP-9 production and demonstrate its negative modulation by p38 and JNK activity. These findings suggest ERK1/2 rather than p38 and JNK as a reasonable target to specifically block MMP-9 expression using MAPK inhibitors in therapeutic applications.