OBJECTIVE: An excess of metalloproteinases (MMPs) over tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) may favor atherosclerotic plaque rupture. We compared TIMP levels in nonfoamy and foam-cell macrophages (FCM) generated in vivo. METHODS AND RESULTS: In vivo generated rabbit FCM exhibited 84% reduced TIMP-3 protein compared to nonfoamy macrophages, and immunocytochemistry revealed a TIMP-3 negative subset (28%). Strikingly, only TIMP-3 negative FCM invaded a synthetic basement membrane, and invasion was inhibited by exogenous TIMP-3. TIMP-3 negative FCM also had increased proliferation and apoptosis rates compared to TIMP-3 positive cells, which were retarded by exogenous TIMP-3; this also reduced gelatinolytic activity. TIMP-3 negative FCM were found at the base of advanced rabbit plaques and in the rupture-prone shoulders of human plaques. To explain the actions of low TIMP-3 we observed a 26-fold increase in MT1-MMP (MMP-14) protein in FCM. Adding an MT1-MMP neutralizing antibody reduced foam-cell invasion, apoptosis, and gelatinolytic activity. Furthermore, MT1-MMP overexpressing and TIMP-3 negative FCM were found at the same locations in atherosclerotic plaques. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that TIMP-3 is downregulated in a distinct subpopulation of FCM which have increased MMP-14. These cells are highly invasive and have increased proliferation and apoptosis, all properties expected to destabilise atherosclerotic plaques.
|Translated title of the contribution||Low Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases 3 and High Matrix Metalloproteinase 14 Levels Defines a Subpopulation of Highly Invasive Foam-Cell Macrophages|
|Pages (from-to)||1647 - 1653|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2008|