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Stromelysin-1 regulates adipogenesis during mammary gland involution.

  • Author(s): Alexander, CM
  • Selvarajan, S
  • Mudgett, J
  • Werb, Z
  • et al.

The matrix metalloproteinase MMP-3/stromelysin-1 (Str1) is highly expressed during mammary gland involution induced by weaning. During involution, programmed cell death of the secretory epithelium takes place concomitant with the repopulation of the mammary fat pad with adipocytes. In this study, we have used a genetic approach to determine the role of Str1 during mammary involution. Although Str1 has been shown to induce unscheduled apoptosis when expressed ectopically during late pregnancy (Alexander, C.M., E.W. Howard, M.J. Bissell, and Z. Werb. 1996. J. Cell Biol. 135:1669-1677), we found that during post-lactational involution, mammary glands from transgenic mice that overexpress the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases, TIMP-1 (TO), or mice carrying a targeted mutation in Str1 showed accelerated differentiation and hypertrophy of adipocytes, while epithelial apoptosis was unaffected. These data suggest that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) do not induce unscheduled epithelial cell death after weaning, but instead alter the stromal microenvironment. We used adipogenic 3T3-L1 cells as a cell culture model to test the function of MMPs during adipocyte differentiation. Fibroblastic 3T3-L1 progenitor cells expressed very low levels of MMPs or TIMPs. The transcription of a number of MMP and TIMP mRNAs [Str1, MT1-MMP, (MMP-14) collagenase-3 (MMP-13), gelatinase A (MMP-2), and TIMP-1, -2 and -3] was induced in committed preadipocytes, but only differentiated adipocytes expressed an activated MMP, gelatinase A. The addition of MMP inhibitors (GM 6001 and TIMP-1) dramatically accelerated the accumulation of lipid during differentiation. We conclude that MMPs, especially Str1, determine the rate of adipocyte differentiation during involutive mammary gland remodeling.

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