Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of increasing estrogen concentrations on metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase protein expressions in cultured pelvic fibroblasts that were obtained from continent and incontinent women.
Study design: Periurethral vaginal wall tissues were taken from four stress incontinent and three continent premenopausal women who underwent gynecologic surgery for benign indications. Protein was extracted from these tissues, and Western blot analysis was performed to document that fibroblasts from continent and incontinent women differed with respect to metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase production. One age-matched tissue pair was prepared for fibroblast culture. Cells were cultured with increasing concentrations of estradiol (0-500 pg/mL). Extracellular metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase were assessed semiquantitatively with Western blotting.
Results: Periurethral vaginal tissues from incontinent women expressed less tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase when compared with tissue from the control subjects; there was no difference in the expression of cleaved, active metalloproteinase protein. Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase expression from fibroblasts of continent women significantly increased with increasing estradiol concentrations (0-100 pg/mL, P <.05). No significant dose response was seen in fibroblasts from an incontinent woman. Metalloproteinase expression was not altered by increasing estradiol concentrations in fibroblasts from either continent or incontinent women.
Conclusion: This preliminary in vitro study suggested that, in fibroblasts that were derived from the continent woman, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase protein production increases with increasing estrogen levels and that, in stress incontinent fibroblasts, no similar increase occurs. Neither group demonstrated a change in metalloproteinase production in response to varying estrogen levels, which suggests that estrogen may inhibit collagen degradation in continent women by increasing tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase production but exerts a reduced inhibitory effect on collagenolysis in women with stress urinary incontinence.