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Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) Is an Endogenous Activator of the MMP-9 Secreted by Placental Leukocytes: Implication in Human Labor

Flores-Pliego, A.; Espejel-Nuñez, A.; Castillo-Castrejon, M.; Meraz-Cruz, N.; Beltran-Montoya, J.; Zaga-Clavellina, V.; Nava-Salazar, S.; Sanchez-Martinez, M.; Vadillo-Ortega, F.; Estrada-Gutierrez, G.

Plos one 10(12): E0145366

2015


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 26713439
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145366
Accession: 058275269

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The activity of matrix degrading enzymes plays a leading role in the rupture of the fetal membranes under normal and pathological human labor, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) it is considered a biomarker of this event. To gain further insight into local MMP-9 origin and activation, in this study we analyzed the contribution of human placental leukocytes to MMP-9 secretion and explored the local mechanisms of the pro-enzyme activation. Placental blood leukocytes were obtained from women at term gestation without labor and maintained in culture up to 72 h. MMP-9 activity in the culture supernatants was determined by zymography and using a specific substrate. The presence of a potential pro-MMP-9 activator in the culture supernatants was monitored using a recombinant biotin-labeled human pro-MMP-9. To characterize the endogenous pro-MMP-9 activator, MMP-1, -3, -7 and -9 were measured by multiplex assay in the supernatants, and an inhibition assay of MMP-9 activation was performed using an anti-human MMP-3 and a specific MMP-3 inhibitor. Finally, production of MMP-9 and MMP-3 in placental leukocytes obtained from term pregnancies with and without labor was assessed by immunofluorescence. Placental leukocytes spontaneously secreted pro-MMP-9 after 24 h of culture, increasing significantly at 48 h (P≤0.05), when the active form of MMP-9 was detected. Culture supernatants activated the recombinant pro-MMP-9 showing that placental leukocytes secrete the activator. A significant increase in MMP-3 secretion by placental leukocytes was observed since 48 h in culture (P≤0.05) and up to 72 h (P≤0.001), when concentration reached its maximum value. Specific activity of MMP-9 decreased significantly (P≤0.005) when an anti-MMP-3 antibody or a specific MMP-3 inhibitor were added to the culture media. Placental leukocytes from term labor produced more MMP-9 and MMP-3 compared to term non-labor cells. In this work we confirm that placental leukocytes from human term pregnancies are able to secrete large amounts of MMP-9, and that the production of the enzyme it is enhanced by labor. We also demonstrate for the first time that endogenous MMP-3 plays a major role in MMP-9 activation process. These findings support the contribution of placental leukocytes to create the collagenolytic microenvironment that induces the rupture of the fetal membranes during human labor.

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