Mesothelial cells play a critical role in the remodeling process that follows serosal injury. Although mesothelial cells are known to synthesize a variety of extracellular matrix components including types I, III, and IV collagens, their potential to participate in matrix degradation has not been explored. We now report that human pleural and peritoneal mesothelial cells express interstitial collagenase, 72- and 92-kD gelatinases (type IV collagenases), and the counterregulatory tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP). Our initial characterization of the mesothelial cell metalloenzymes and TIMP has revealed: (a) they are likely identical to corresponding molecules secreted by other human cells; (b) they are secreted rather than stored in an intracellular pool; (c) a primary site of regulation occurs at a pretranslational level; (d) phorbol myristate acetate, via activation of protein kinase C, upregulates expression of collagenase, 92-kD gelatinase, and TIMP, but has no effect on expression of 72-kD gelatinase; and (e) lipopolysaccharide fails to upregulate the biosynthesis of either metalloproteinases or TIMP. Of particular interest is the observation that the state of cellular differentiation has a striking influence on the expression of metalloenzymes and TIMP, such that epithelioid cells display a more matrix-degradative phenotype (increased 92-kD gelatinase and decreased TIMP) than their fibroblastoid counterparts. We speculate that mesothelial cells directly participate in the extracellular matrix turnover that follows serosal injury via elaboration of metalloproteinases and TIMP. Additionally, the reactive cuboidal mesothelium which is characteristic of the early response to serosal injury may manifest a matrix-degradative phenotype favoring normal repair rather than fibrosis.
- mesothelial cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas