Heterogeneous effects of tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases on cardiac fibroblasts

Joshua D. Lovelock, Andrew H. Baker, Feng Gao, Jing Fei Dong, Angela L. Bergeron, Willie McPheat, Natarajan Sivasubramanian, Douglas L. Mann

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122 Scopus citations


The balance between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their natural inhibitors, the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), plays a critical role in cardiac remodeling. Although a number of studies have characterized the pathophysiological role of MMPs in the heart, very little is known with respect to the role of TIMPs in the heart. To delineate the role of TIMPs in the heart we examined the effects of adenovirus-mediated overexpression of TIMP-1, -2, -3, and -4 in cardiac fibroblasts. Infection of cardiac fibroblasts with adenoviral constructs containing human recombinant TIMP (AdTIMP-1, -2, -3, and -4) provoked a significant (P < 0.0001) 1.3-fold in increase in bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation. Similarly, treatment of cardiac fibroblasts with AdTIMP-1-, -2-, -3-, and -4-conditioned medium led to a 1.2-fold increase in BrdU incorporation (P < 0.0001) that was abolished by pretreatment with anti-TIMP-1, -2, -3, and -4 antibodies. The effects of TIMPs were not mimicked by treating the cells with RS-130830, a broad-based MMP inhibitor, suggesting that the effects of TIMPs were independent of their ability to inhibit MMPs. Infection with AdTIMP-1, -2, -3, and -4 led to a significant increase in α-smooth muscle actin staining, consistent with TIMP-induced phenotypic differentiation into myofibroblasts. Finally, infection with AdTIMP-2 resulted in a significant increase in collagen synthesis, whereas infection with AdTIMP-3 resulted in a significant increase in fibroblast apoptosis. TIMPs exert overlapping as well as diverse effects on isolated cardiac fibroblasts. The observation that TIMPs stimulate fibroblast proliferation as well as phenotypic differentiation into myofibroblasts suggests that TIMPs may play an important role in tissue repair in the heart that extends beyond their traditional role as MMP inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H461-H468
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 57-2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Phenotypic differentiation
  • Proliferation


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