Induction of MMP-1, MMP-3 and TIMP-1 in normal dermal fibroblasts by chronic venous leg ulcer wound fluid*
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In the wound bed of chronic venous leg ulcers, an imbalance of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) may cause excessive proteolysis and impair wound granulation. Soluble mediators in the wound environment may be responsible for this imbalance. The in vitro effect of wound fluid from venous leg ulcers on dermal fibroblast production of MMP-1, MMP-3 and TIMP-1 was compared with the effect of acute wound fluid from two different sources: fluid from post-mastectomy axillary drains and fluid from skin graft donor sites. Significantly higher MMP-1 and MMP-3 levels were induced by chronic venous leg ulcer wound fluid compared with both types of acute wound fluid (P < 0.005). Chronic venous ulcer wound fluid reduced TIMP-1 protein levels significantly more than acute graft fluid (P < 0.05). Venous ulcer wound fluid significantly increased MMP-1 and MMP-3 production in dermal fibroblasts and reduced TIMP-1 production, confirming that mediators in the leg ulcer microenvironment can potentially induce excessive proteolysis in the ulcer dermis by altering the balance between MMPs and TIMPs. Inflammatory mediators including interleukin-1beta and tumour necrosis factor-alpha can induce these MMPs. Further work is required to confirm the factors responsible for the induction of a high MMP and low TIMP profile in fibroblasts by venous ulcer wound fluid.
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