MMPs/TIMPs and inflammatory signalling de-regulation in human incisional hernia tissues

Jordi Guillen-Marti, Ramon Diaz, Maria T. Quiles, Manuel Lopez-Cano, Ramon Vilallonga, Pere Huguet, Santiago Ramon-y-Cajal, Albert Sanchez-Niubo, Jaume Reventós, Manel Armengol, Maria A. Arbos

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Incisional hernia is a common and important complication of laparotomies. Epidemiological studies allude to an underlying biological cause, at least in a subset of population. Interest has mainly focused on abnormal collagen metabolism. However, the role played by other determinants of extracellular matrix (ECM) composition is unknown. To date, there are few laboratory studies investigating the importance of biological factors contributing to incisional hernia development. We performed a descriptive tissue-based analysis to elucidate the possible relevance of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in association with local cytokine induction in human incisional hernia tissues. The expression profiles of MMPs, TIMPs and pro-inflammatory cytokine signalling were investigated in aponeurosis and skeletal muscle specimens taken intraoperatively from incisional hernia (n = 10) and control (n = 10) patients. Semiquantitative RT-PCR, zymography and immunoblotting analyses were done. Incisional hernia samples displayed alterations in the microstructure and loss of ECM, as assessed by histological analyses. Moreover, incisional hernia tissues showed increased MMP/TIMP ratios and de-regulated inflammatory signalling (tumor necrosis factor [TNFA] and interleukin [IL]-6 tended to increase, whereas aponeurosis TNFA receptors decreased). The changes were tissue-specific and were detectable at the mRNA and/or protein level. Statistical analyses showed several associations between individual MMPs, TIMPs, interstitial collagens and inflammatory markers. The increment of MMPs in the absence of a counterbalance by TIMPs, together with an ongoing de-regulated inflammatory signalling, may contribute in inducing a functional defect of the ECM network by post-translational mechanisms, which may trigger abdominal wall tissue loss and eventual rupture. The notable TIMP3 protein down-regulation in incisional hernia fascia may be of pathophysiological significance. We conclude that this study may help to pinpoint novel hypotheses of pathogenesis that can lead to a better understanding of the disease and ultimately to improvement in current therapeutic approaches. © 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4432-4443
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Aponeurosis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • IL-6
  • Incisional hernia
  • Skeletal muscle
  • TNFA


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