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Open Access Short Report

Phosphodiesterase inhibition mediates matrix metalloproteinase activity and the level of collagen degradation fragments in a liver fibrosis ex vivo rat model

Sanne Skovgård Veidal, Mette Juul Nielsen*, Diana Julie Leeming and Morten Asser Karsdal

Author Affiliations

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev Hovedgade 207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:686  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-686

Published: 18 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) and increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity are hallmarks of liver fibrosis. The aim of the present study was to develop a model of liver fibrosis combining ex vivo tissue culture of livers from CCl4 treated animals with an ELISA detecting a fragment of type III collagen generated in vitro by MMP-9 (C3M), known to be associated with liver fibrosis and to investigate cAMP modulation of MMP activity and liver tissue turnover in this model.

Findings

In vivo: Rats were treated for 8 weeks with CCl4/Intralipid. Liver slices were cultured for 48 hours. Levels of C3M were determined in the supernatants of slices cultured without treatment, treated with GM6001 (positive control) or treated with IBMX (phosphodiesterase inhibitor). Enzymatic activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were studied by gelatin zymography. Ex vivo: The levels of serum C3M increased 77% in the CCl4-treated rats at week 8 (p < 0.01); Levels of C3M increased significantly by 100% in fibrotic liver slices compared to controls after 48 hrs (p < 0.01). By adding GM6001 or IBMX to the media, C3M was restored to control levels. Gelatin zymography demonstrated CCl4-treated animals had highly increased MMP-9, but not MMP-2 activity, compared to slices derived from control animals.

Conclusions

We have combined an ex vivo model of liver fibrosis with measurement of a biochemical marker of collagen degradation in the condition medium. This technology may be used to evaluate the molecular process leading to structural fibrotic changes, as collagen species are the predominant structural part of fibrosis. These data suggest that modulation of cAMP may play a role in regulation of collagen degradation associated with liver fibrosis.

Keywords:
Precision-cut liver slices; Fibrosis; Ex vivo; cAMP