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Age-related changes in the expression of gelatinase and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase genes in mandibular condylar, growth plate, and articular cartilage in rats.

Takahashi I., Onodera K., Bae J.W., Mitani H., Sasano Y., Mitani H.

Mandibular condylar cartilage acts as both articular and growth plate cartilage during growth, and then becomes articular cartilage after growth is complete. Cartilaginous extracellular matrix is remodeled continuously via a combination of production, degradation by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and inhibition of MMP activity by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). This study attempted to clarify the age-related changes in the mRNA expression patterns of MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3 in mandibular condylar cartilage in comparison to tibial growth plate and articular cartilage using an in situ hybridization method in growing and adult rats. MMP-2 and MMP-9 were expressed in a wide range of condylar cartilage cells during growth, and their expression domains became limited to mature chondrocytes in adults. The patterns of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 expression were similar to those of MMP-2 and MMP-9 during growth, and were maintained until adulthood. TIMP-3 was localized to hypertrophic chondrocytes throughout the growth stage. Therefore, we concluded that TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were general inhibitors of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in condylar cartilage, while TIMP-3 regulates the collagenolytic degradation of the hypertrophic cartilage matrix.

J. Mol. Histol. 36:355-366(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]