Human microvascular endothelial cells differ from macrovascular endothelial cells in their expression of matrix metalloproteinases

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1997 Oct;29(10):1167-77. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(97)00061-7.


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) secretion by microvascular endothelial cells is an essential first step in the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Since angiogenesis does not occur in large blood vessels, we investigated whether the secretion of MMPs and tissue inhibitor of MMP (TIMP1) differs between micro- and macro-vascular endothelial cells. We compared the secretion of MMPs and TIMP1 by human endothelial cells derived from neonatal foreskin (FSE) and umbilical vein (HUVE) sources. The cells were incubated for 24 hr in the presence or absence of the angiogenic agents, phorbol myristate acetate (PMA, 100 ng/ml) or tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF, 100 ng/ml). The cell supernatants were removed and assayed for MMPs and TIMP1 using a spectrophotometric assay for MMP1, zymography, Western blotting and Northern analysis. When endothelial cells were incubated in basal medium for 24 hr they secreted MMP1, MMP2 and TIMP1 but not MMP9. HUVE secreted substantially higher levels of these proteins compared to FSE. In addition, HUVE secreted two low molecular mass bands representing activated forms of MMP2. These activated forms were not present in supernatants derived from FSE. In response to PMA, both FSE and HUVE increased secretion of MMP1 and TIMP1. However, there was a dramatic difference in level of response by the two cell types with FSE secreting substantially more TIMP1 and MMP9 compared to HUVE. These data clearly show that cultured endothelial cells derived from microvascular vs macrovascular tissues exhibit different MMP and TIMP secretory profiles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagenases / genetics
  • Collagenases / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Gelatinases / genetics
  • Gelatinases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / biosynthesis
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / genetics
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Umbilical Veins


  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Collagenases
  • Gelatinases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate