This study was conducted to determine the following: (1) whether matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) is increased in systemic vessels of preeclamptic women, (2) whether this increase might be mediated by neutrophils, and (3) whether MMP-1 could be responsible for vascular dysfunction. Omental arteries and plasma were collected from healthy pregnant and preeclamptic women. Omental arteries were evaluated for gene and protein expression of MMP-1, collagen type 1α, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, and vascular reactivity to MMP-1. Gene and protein expression levels were also evaluated in human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) co-cultured with activated neutrophils, reactive oxygen species, or tumor necrosis factor α. Vessel expression of MMP-1 and circulating MMP-1 levels were increased in preeclamptic women, whereas vascular expression of collagen or tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 were down-regulated or unchanged. In cultured VSMCs, the imbalance in collagen-regulating genes of preeclamptic vessels was reproduced by treatment with neutrophils, tumor necrosis factor α, or reactive oxygen species. Chemotaxis studies with cultured cells revealed that MMP-1 promoted recruitment of neutrophils via vascular smooth muscle release of interleukin-8. Furthermore, MMP-1 induced vasoconstriction via protease-activated receptor-1, whose expression was significantly increased in omental arteries of preeclamptic women and in VSMCs co-cultured with neutrophils. Collectively, these findings disclose a novel role for MMP-1 as a mediator of vasoconstriction and vascular dysfunction in preeclampsia
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