Loss of matrix metalloproteinase-2 amplifies murine toxin-induced liver fibrosis by upregulating collagen i expression

Brian D. Radbill, Ritu Gupta, Maria Celeste M. Ramirez, Analisa Difeo, John A. Martignetti, Carlos E. Alvarez, Scott L. Friedman, Goutham Narla, Raluca Vrabie, Robert Bowles, Yedidya Saiman, Meena B. Bansal

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55 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), a type IV collagenase secreted by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), is upregulated in chronic liver disease and is considered a profibrotic mediator due to its proliferative effect on cultured HSCs and ability to degrade normal liver matrix. Although associative studies and cell culture findings suggest that MMP-2 promotes hepatic fibrogenesis, no in vivo model has definitively established a pathologic role for MMP-2 in the development and progression of liver fibrosis. We therefore examined the impact of MMP-2 deficiency on liver fibrosis development during chronic CCl4 liver injury and explored the effect of MMP-2 deficiency and overexpression on collagen I expression. Methods: Following chronic CCl4 administration, liver fibrosis was analyzed using Sirius Red staining with quantitative morphometry and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in MMP-2-/- mice and age-matched MMP-2+/+ controls. These studies were complemented by analyses of cultured human stellate cells. Results: MMP-2-/- mice demonstrated an almost twofold increase in fibrosis which was not secondary to significant differences in hepatocellular injury, HSC activation or type I collagenase activity; however, type I collagen messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was increased threefold in the MMP-2-/- group by real-time PCR. Furthermore, targeted reduction of MMP-2 in cultured HSCs using RNA interference significantly increased collagen I mRNA and protein, while overexpression of MMP-2 resulted in decreased collagen I mRNA. Conclusions: These findings suggest that increased MMP-2 during the progression of liver fibrosis may be an important mechanism for inhibiting type I collagen synthesis by activated HSCs, thereby providing a protective rather than pathologic role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-416
Number of pages11
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Cirrhosis
  • Fibrogenesis
  • Hepatic stellate cell
  • Matrix metalloproteinase-2
  • Type I collagen


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