Research Papers:

Matrix metalloproteinase MMP9 maintains epithelial barrier function and preserves mucosal lining in colitis associated cancer

Adani Pujada, Lewins Walter, Aashka Patel, Tien Anh Bui, Zhan Zhang, Yuchen Zhang, Timothy Luke Denning and Pallavi Garg _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:94650-94665. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21841

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Adani Pujada1, Lewins Walter1, Aashka Patel2, Tien Anh Bui2, Zhan Zhang1, Yuchen Zhang1, Timothy Luke Denning1 and Pallavi Garg1

1Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA

2Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Correspondence to:

Pallavi Garg, email: [email protected]

Keywords: colitis associated cancer; microbiota; MMP9; IL-22; A. muciniphila

Received: April 19, 2017    Accepted: August 14, 2017    Published: October 17, 2017


In colitis associated cancer (CAC), chronic inflammation exposes the epithelial mucosal defensive lining to inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and anti-microbial peptides (AMPs) causing the dysbiosis of microbiota population and the dysregulation of immune response. Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc dependent endopeptidases which mediate inflammation, tissue remodeling, and carcinogenesis. MMP9 is undetectable in healthy tissue, although highly upregulated during inflammation and cancer. We have previously shown that MMP9 plays a protective role in CAC opposite to its conventional role of acute inflammation and cancer mediator. In this study, we investigated the mechanistic role of MMP9 in preserving the epithelial mucosal integrity to suppress the progression of tumor microenvironment in CAC. We used transgenic mice constitutively expressing MMP9 in colonic epithelium (TgM9) as an in vivo model and intestinal cell line CaCo2BBE as an in vitro model. We induced CAC with three cycles of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). We observed that MMP9 expression in colonic epithelium maintains the microbiota. We also observed that MMP9 mediates pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and AMPs but suppresses IL-22 resulting in lower levels of REG3-g and S100A8 AMPs. We also found that MMP9 maintains an efficient barrier function and the integrity of tight junctions. We also observed increased levels of mucin and intestinal trefoil factor among TgM9 mice in CAC. We also found that MMP9 expressing CaCo2BBE cells had increased expressions of EGFR and nuclear transcription factor- specificity protein 1 (Sp1). These data imply that MMP9 acts as a tumor suppressor in CAC by sustaining the epithelial mucosal integrity due to the activation of EGFR-Sp1 signaling pathway.

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