Background: Joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA) predominantly afflict post-menopausal women, suggesting a pertinent role for female hormones. Estrogen receptor beta (ER-β) has been detected in connective tissues of the knee joint suggesting that these tissues are responsive to the hormone estrogen. Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) activity contributes to cartilage degradation, a key factor leading to OA development in synovial joints. Two polymorphic forms of MMP-1 exist due to a deletion/insertion of the guanine residue in the promoter, and the 2G allelic variant of MMP-1 exhibits more activity than the 1G allele. Previous studies have demonstrated that the polymorphic forms of the human MMP-1 are influenced by the modulating effects of estrogen receptor isoforms. In addition to hormonal influences, physiological factors such as altered mechanical loading are also contributory features of OA. In the present study, the combined influence of biomechanical and hormonal variables on the activity of MMP-1 isoforms was evaluated. We hypothesized that the combined effects of ER-β and sheer stress will differentially activate the two allelic forms of MMP-1 in a hormone-independent manner. Methods: HIG-82 synoviocytes were transiently transfected with 1G or 2G alleles (±) ER-β and subjected to either shear or equibiaxial stress. Next, 1G/2G promoter activity was measured to determine the combined influence of physiological stimuli. Truncated ER-β constructs were used to determine the importance of different domains of ER-β on 1G/2G activation. Results: The 2G allele exhibited a constitutively higher activity than the 1G allele, which was further increased when the transfected cells were subject to shear stress, but not equibiaxial stress. Moreover, the combination of ER-β and shear stress further increased the activity levels of the 1G/2G allelic variants. Additionally, select AF-2 truncated ER-β variants led to increased activity levels for the 2G allele, indicating the AF-1 domain was likely involved in the response to mechanical stimulation. Conclusions: These results suggest that the 1G/2G alleles of MMP-1 are influenced by specific mechanical stimuli like shear stress, as well as the ER-β receptor. These findings contribute to the potential allelic involvement in connective tissue diseases such as OA in females compared to males.
Thaler, J. D., Achari, Y., Lu, T., Shrive, N. G., & Hart, D. A. (2014). Estrogen receptor beta and truncated variants enhance the expression of transfected MMP-1 promoter constructs in response to specific mechanical loading. Biology of Sex Differences, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13293-014-0014-6