Up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in T lymphocytes of mammary tumor bearers: Role of vascular endothelial growth factor

Jennifer L. Owen, Vijaya Iragavarapu-Charyulu, Zeenat Gunja-Smith, Lynn M. Herbert, Joseph F. Grosso, Diana M. Lopez

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74 Scopus citations


Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a matrix-degrading enzyme, is crucial in tumor invasion and metastasis and is implicated in leukocyte extravasation. In this report, we demonstrate that during growth of the D1-7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene-3 mammary tumor in BALB/c mice, there is progressive up-regulation of MMP-9 in splenic T cells at both the transcriptional and translational levels. Our previous work has identified several factors produced by this tumor, including PGE2, GM-CSF, and phosphatidyl serine; however, none of these agents induces increased production of MMP-9 by normal splenic T cells. Although not produced by the tumor, TNF-α and IL-6 are up-regulated in both macrophages and B cells in tumor-bearing mice. Exposure of normal T cells to these two cytokines, however, also fails to up-regulate MMP-9 production. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is produced by many tumors, and we determined that the mammary tumor used in our studies expresses high levels of this angiogenic growth factor. Importantly, splenic T cells from tumor bearers constitutively produce increased amounts of VEGF, and treatment of normal T cells with VEGF results in up-regulated MMP-9 production. Of crucial importance is the finding that tumor-infiltrating T cells also produce high levels of VEGF and MMP-9. Our studies indicate that VEGF can act directly on T lymphocytes and that elevated VEGF levels may contribute to the aberrant MMP-9 secretion by mammary tumor bearers' T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4340-4351
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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