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Expression and mechanical modulation of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -2 genes in facial and cranial sutures


Craniofacial sutures create a soft tissue interface between various calvarial and facial bones. Facial and cranial sutures show differences in their surrounding anatomical structures and local mechanical strain environments. Despite previous attempts to identify the expression of matrix metalloproteinase genes (MMPs) in cranial sutures, little is known regarding whether facial and cranial sutures differ in MMP expression. We have investigated the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-2 in the premaxillomaxillary suture (PMS; facial suture) and the frontoparietal suture (FPS; cranial suture) in 32-day-old rats with or without the application of cyclic loading. Expression of MMP-1 and MMP-2 was detected by the reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction technique. At 32 days of postnatal development (n=6), both MMP-1 and MMP-2 were reproducibly expressed in the facial PMS, in comparison with negligible MMP-1 and MMP-2 expression in the cranial FPS. In six age- and sex-matched control rats, cyclic loading at 4 Hz and 1000 mN was applied to the maxilla for two 20-min episodes within a 12-h interval. In some (but not all) cases, cyclic loading induced marked expression of MMP-1 and MMP-2 in the PMS and FPS in comparison with corresponding non-loaded controls. These data confirm our previous finding that short doses of cyclic loading upregulate MMP-2 expression in craniofacial sutures and suggest the possibility that facial and cranial sutures differ in matrix degradation rates during postnatal development.

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The experimental work described in this manuscript is taken from the Master of Science thesis research by Rasha Al-Mubarak. We thank Drs. Carla Evans and Philip Patston for serving on the thesis committee and for providing valuable suggestions on the thesis project. We are indebted to Aurora Lopez for general technical assistance. We thank two anonymous reviewers whose insightful comments helped improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jeremy J. Mao.

Additional information

This research was supported by NIH grants DE13964 and EB02332.

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Al-Mubarak, R., Da Silveira, A. & Mao, J.J. Expression and mechanical modulation of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -2 genes in facial and cranial sutures. Cell Tissue Res 321, 465–471 (2005).

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  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Bone
  • Osteoblasts
  • Mechanical strain
  • Craniofacial sutures
  • Gene expression
  • Rat (Sprague Dawley, male)