To investigate the relation between matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP) in malignant ovarian tumor, MMP and TIMP activities in conditioned media of 16 malignant ovarian tumor tissues and six normal ovaries were detected by zymography and reverse zymography, respectively and were quantitated with a densitometer. TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were detected in all normal and malignant ovarian tumor tissues by reverse zymography. In normal ovaries, the intensity of TIMP-2 bands was stronger than TIMP-1, but in malignant tumor tissues those of TIMP-1 were stronger. The ratios of TIMP-1 to TIMP-2 and MMP-9 to MMP-2 were significantly higher in malignant tumor tissues than in normal ovaries (P < 0.001). TIMP activity consisting of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 correlated significantly to MMP activiy of MMP-2 and MMP-9 (r = 0.67, P < 0.005). There was a significant correlation between TIMP-1 activity and MMP activity (r = 0.72, P < 0.001), but no correlation was observed between TIMP-2 activity and MMP activity. The high level of TIMP-1 appeared to be related to malignant phenotype in ovaries as well as the high level of MMP-9.
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