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Stromal expression of 72 kda type IV collagenase (MMP-2) and TIMP-2 mRNAs in colorectal neoplasia.

  • R. Poulsom
  • M. Pignatelli
  • W. G. Stetler-Stevenson
  • L. A. Liotta
  • P. A. Wright
  • R. E. Jeffery
  • J. M. Longcroft
  • L. Rogers
  • G. W. Stamp
Publication Date
Aug 01, 1992
  • Biology


We undertook an in situ hybridization study to localize the mRNAs for the 72 kda type IV collagenase (MMP-2) and its specific inhibitor (TIMP-2) in 12 colorectal carcinomas, 3 adenomas, and 4 uninvolved resection margins to see how their distributions correlated with that of the reported distribution of MMP-2 protein. Labeling for MMP-2 and TIMP-2 mRNAs was detectable in 10 of 12 carcinomas and in 2 of 3 adenomas. Unexpectedly, we found much stronger signals for MMP-2 and TIMP-2 mRNAs within the mesenchymal cells in the desmoplastic stroma, of endothelial and/or (myo)fibroblastic nature, rather than in tumor epithelial cells in which localization of MMP-2 was anticipated. Our data indicate that stromal cells may have the ability to synthesize a metalloproteinase that degrades basement membrane, and may together with the neoplastic epithelial cells participate actively in the tissue remodeling and disruption of the basement membrane integrity which is characteristic of invasive tumors.

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