Thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β synergistically induce fibroblast-mediated collagen gel degradation

Qiuhong Fang, Xiangde Liu, Mona Al-Mugotir, Tetsu Kobayashi, Shinji Abe, Tadashi Kohyama, Stephen I. Rennard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Degradation of preexisting and newly synthesized extracellular matrix is thought to play an important role in tissue remodeling. The current study evaluated whether thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β could collaboratively induce collagen degradation by human fetal lung fibroblasts (HFL-1) and adult bronchial fibroblasts cultured in three-dimensional collagen gels. TNF-α/IL-1β alone induced production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)-1, -3, and -9, which were released in latent form. With the addition of thrombin, the latent MMPs were converted into active forms and this resulted in collagen gel degradation. Part of the activation of MMPs by thrombin resulted from direct activation of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-9 in the absence of cells. In addition, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 production was inhibited by the combination of thrombin and TNF-α/ IL-1β. These results suggest that thrombin and TNF-α/IL-1β synergize to induce degradation of three-dimensional collagen gels through increasing the production and activation of MMPs, and that this effect is mediated through both direct activation of MMPs by thrombin and indirectly by thrombin activation of fibroblasts. Through such mechanisms, thrombin could contribute to many chronic lung disorders characterized by tissue remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-721
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Collagen degradation
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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