Matrix metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase expression in human preimplantation embryos

Fertil Steril. 2003 Sep;80 Suppl 2:736-42. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(03)00782-9.


Objective: To examine human embryos at various stages of preimplantation development for simultaneous expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs).

Design: mRNAs of specific MMPs and TIMPs were examined in single human embryos, at different stages of preimplantation development, by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Single embryo immunohistochemistry was applied to examine the protein expression.

Setting: University-affiliated IVF-ET program.

Patient(s): Couples, attending the university-affiliated IVF-ET program, electing to donate poor prognosis embryos with anomalous morphology.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): The expression of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and TIMP-3 in preimplantation embryos.

Result(s): The MMP-2 mRNA was expressed consistently during development from one-cell to blastocyst stage. The TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 mRNAs were detected in embryos at all stages; however, in the later preimplantation developmental stages, an increasing proportion of embryos expressing TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 mRNA were noted. The MMP-1, MMP-9, and TIMP-2 mRNAs were detected in only a minority of human embryos studied. Immunohistochemistry showed MMP-1 and TIMP-1 protein expression in preimplantation embryos.

Conclusion(s): The existence of MMP and TIMP mRNA expression in human preimplantation embryos argues for a role for these metalloproteinases and their inhibitors during the process of implantation in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blastocyst / enzymology*
  • Blastocyst / physiology
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / biosynthesis*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / genetics
  • Micromanipulation
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / biosynthesis*
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases