American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology

MMP dependence of fibroblast contraction and collagen production induced by human mast cell activation in a three-dimensional collagen lattice.

PMID 19060229


Mast cell-fibroblast interactions may contribute to fibrosis in asthma and other disease states. Fibroblast contraction is known to be stimulated by coculture with the human mast cell line, HMC-1, or by mast cell-derived agents. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) can also mediate contraction, but the MMP-dependence of mast cell-induced fibroblast contractility is not established, and the consequences of mast cell activation within the coculture system have not been fully explored. We demonstrate that activation of primary human mast cells (pHMC) with IgE receptor cross-linking, or activation of HMC-1 with C5a, enhanced contractility of human lung fibroblasts in a three-dimensional collagen lattice system. This enhanced contractility was inhibited by the pan-MMP antagonist, batimastat, and was transferrable in the conditioned medium of activated mast cells. Exogenously added MMPs promoted gel contraction by mediating the proteolytic activation of latent transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). Consistent with this, fibroblast contraction induced by mast cell activation was enhanced by addition of excess latent TGF-beta to the cultures. Batimastat inhibited this response, suggesting that MMPs capable of activating latent TGF-beta were released following mast cell activation in coculture with fibroblasts. Collagen production was also stimulated by activated mast cells in an MMP-dependent manner. MMP-2 and MMP-3 content of the gels increased in the presence of activated mast cells, and inhibition of these enzymes blocked the contractile response. These findings demonstrate the MMP dependence of mast cell-induced fibroblast contraction and collagen production.