Molecular human reproduction vol:6 issue:5 pages:479-85
The cellular mechanisms underlying fetal membrane repair are poorly understood. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and the endogenous tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP) play a key role in the control of turnover of extracellular matrix in fetal membranes at normal parturition and preterm prelabour rupture of the fetal membranes (PPROM). The time course of secretion of MMP-2 (72 kDa, gelatinase A) and MMP-9 (92 kDa, gelatinase B) and TIMP into extra-embryonic coelomic, allantoic and amniotic fluids in a rabbit model was examined. Furthermore, to evaluate their role in fetal membrane repair, the changes induced by fetoscopy at mid-gestation (23 days; gestation length is 32 days) were investigated. Zymography showed predominantly secretion of latent MMP-2 at 18, 23 and 30 days of gestation in all gestational compartments. Reverse zymography detected a broad range of TIMP activity with molecular weights of 27-30 kDa (TIMP-1, glycosylated TIMP-3 and TIMP-4), 24 kDa (unglycosylated TIMP-3) and 21 kDa (TIMP-2). Following fetoscopy, both MMP-2 and TIMP increased significantly in amniotic fluid and extra-embryonic coelomic fluid, but not in allantoic fluid, as demonstrated by densitometric analyses. These findings indicate a modulating role for MMP and TIMP in the repair processes following a surgically induced fetal membrane defect.