Matrix metalloproteinase-9 is an important factor in hepatic regeneration after partial hepatectomy in mice

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Partial hepatectomy triggers hepatocyte proliferation, hepatic matrix remodeling, and hepatocyte apoptosis, all of which are important processes in the regenerating liver. Previous studies have shown an increase in the levels of matrix metalloproteinases gelatinase A (MMP-2) and gelatinase B (MMP-9) after partial hepatectomy. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of MMP-9 in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. A 70% hepatectomy or sham laparotomy was performed in wild-type or MMP-9–deficient (MMP-9−/−) mice. Hepatic regeneration was determined by liver weight/total body weight ratios and BrdU staining, which was used to a calculate mitotic index at several times postoperatively. Cytokine and growth factor expression was evaluated by Luminex™ bead–based ELISA and Western blots. Finally, the effect of MMP-9 on apoptosis was measured using TUNEL and caspase expression. The MMP-9−/− animals had a delayed hepatic regenerative response when compared with wild-type controls. The MMP-9–deficient animals expressed significantly less VEGF, HGF, and TNF-α between days 2 and 3 post-hepatectomy. Apoptosis, as measured by TUNEL staining and caspase expression, was decreased in the MMP-9−/−.In conclusion, MMP-9 plays an important role in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy by affecting matrix remodeling, as well as cytokine, growth factor, and caspase expression.Supplementary material for this article can be found on the HEPATOLOGY website (

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