Keloids and hypertrophic scars are characterized by excessive deposition of collagen, which may result from insufficient protein degradation. Little is known about the levels of two gelatinases, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (72 kD type IV collagenase) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (matrix metalloproteinase-9; 92 kD type IV collagenase) in these abnormal scars. The purpose of this study was to determine levels of these proteinases in tissue from hypertrophic scars, keloids, and donor skin. Ten hypertrophic scar samples, 9 keloid samples, and 10 donor skin samples were frozen, pulverized, homogenized, clarified by centrifugation, and analyzed for matrix metalloproteinases by quantitative zymography. Identity of matrix metalloproteinases was determined using a conditioned media reference standard, molecular weight ladders, and Western blotting. Levels of matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity were very low or undetectable in all samples. However, matrix metalloproteinase-2 activity was significantly elevated in keloids and hypertrophic scars vs. donor samples: 2.6 and 3.9-fold increases for latent matrix metalloproteinase-2, 7.8 and 6.9-fold increases for active matrix metalloproteinase-2, respectively. We conclude that little matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity (the gelatinase involved in early tissue repair) is present in keloids and hypertrophic scars, while matrix metalloproteinase- 2 activity (the gelatinase involved in prolonged tissue remodeling) is present in donor skin and is significantly increased in hypertrophic scars and keloids.
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