University of Oulu

Role of basement membranes and their break-down in human carcinomas : a study by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry of the expression of laminin chains, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs)

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Author: Määttä, Marko1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2000
Publish Date: 2000-10-19
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium of the Department of Pharmacology, on November 24th, 2000, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Veli-Matti Kähäri
Docent Ilmo Leivo


In malignancies many alterations involving matrix macromolecule synthesis, secretion and assembly into basement membranes (BMs) as well as their degradation are present. The most important groups associated with matrix turnover are matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs).

In this study altogether 285 tissue samples were investigated comprising various malignant epithelial tumors and normal tissue structures, in which the distribution of different laminin chains was studied immunohistochemically. Laminin α5, β1 and γ1 were detected almost in all the BMs studied including normal tissues and malignancies, whereas α1 chain of laminin was present only in certain BMs. Laminin γ2 chain was solely expressed by epithelial BMs and was present in intracellular space especially in individual carcinoma cells infiltrating in the tumor stroma and in tumor cells in close contact with BM zone. Generally epithelial tumors contained quite well-formed BMs around their tumor clusters, except for infiltrative breast carcinoma and diffuse type gastric carcinoma. In situ hybridization revealed that only epithelial cells contained mRNAs for laminin α1 and γ2 chains, whereas laminin β1 chain and α1(IV) collagen were synthesized mainly by stromal cells.

mRNA for MMP-2 was produced mainly by stromal cells in hepatocellular carcinoma of liver (HCC) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, whereas MMP-9 and MT1-MMP were equally synthesized by carcinoma cells and cells of tumor stroma. However, in HCCs of grade III carcinoma cells predominated in their MT1-MMP expression. All three MMPs were immunolocalized to malignant epithelial cells and showed variably stromal cell positivity. Statistically mRNA synthesis for MT1-MMP was significantly associated with the shortened survival of patients with HCC (P ≤ 0.01).

TIMP-1-3 mRNA, and especially TIMP-3, expressions in normal endometrium were significantly increased in endometrial stromal cells towards the secretory phase. In various endometrial hyperplasias TIMPs and MT1-MMP expressions were quite comparable to those seen in proliferating endometrium. In endometrial adenocarcinomas their expressions were significantly increased and the most intensified mRNA expressions were seen in grade III adenocarcinomas. Especially TIMP-3 and MT1-MMP mRNAs were synthesized by carcinoma cells.

The results indicate that epithelial malignancies are capable of active synthesis and assembly of BM macromolecules. Simultaneous matrix synthesis and degradation seen in malignancies suggest that the mechanisms involved in matrix turnover are not lost during malignant transformation. mRNA synthesis for MMPs and TIMPs is generally increased in epithelial malignancies. The results therefore strongly support the concept that MMPs have an active role in carcinoma cell invasion.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-5805-3
ISBN Print: 951-42-5804-5
Issue: 611
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2000. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.