The matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) expression in the human endometrium is inversely regulated by interleukin-1 alpha and sex steroids

Ceska Gynekol. 2000 Jul;65(4):211-5.


Objective: To investigate the regulation of perimenstrual MMP-1 expression in human endometrium.

Design: In vitro study utilizing epithelial-stromal co-cultures.

Setting: Cell Biology Unit, International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, and Departments of Pathology and Gynecology, Saint-Luc University Clinics, Louvain University Medical School, Brussels, Belgium.

Methods: Contact-dependent and contact-independent co-cultures were established and resulting MMP-1 gene and protein expression was analyzed by RNase protection assays and soluble-collagen assays.

Results: MMP-1 expression in endometrial fibroblasts is markedly stimulated by epithelial cell-conditioned medium. This stimulation can be prevented by antibodies directed against interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1 alpha). Ovarian steroids inhibit MMP-1 production by IL-1 alpha-stimulated fibroblasts in vitro.

Conclusion: Taken together, our results suggest that epithelium-derived IL-1 alpha is the most important paracrine induced of MMP-1 in endometrial fibroblasts. However, IL-1 alpha-stimulated MMP-1 production in the human endometrium is effectively blocked by ovarian steroids. We believe that this mechanism responsible for the MMP-1 repression that occurs when systemic sex steroid concentrations are high and the MMP-1 production and activity during the perimenstrual phase when estrogen and progesterone concentrations are low.

MeSH terms

  • Coculture Techniques
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / pharmacology
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Menstruation


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Interleukin-1
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1