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UT Southwestern researchers find protein breakdown contributes to pelvic organ prolapse
Date:5/23/2011

already starting to have problems. So we know genetic and environmental factors contribute to this," Dr. Word said.

Using mice, researchers tested how fibulin-5, a protein that is essential for elastic fiber assembly, regulated the activity of matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9), a group of enzymes that break down the matrix of collagen and elastic fibers, leading to a loss of the structural support of the vaginal wall.

Researchers used a fibulin-5 deficient rodent model and a new domain-specific mutant of fibulin-5 to demonstrate that fibulin-5-mediated elastogenesis (development of elastic fibers) is essential to support the pelvic organs. They also showed that prolapse of the vaginal wall requires an increase in MMP-9, but that fibulin-5 inhibits activation of this protease in a tissue-specific manner.

"Matrix assembly of the vaginal wall is a very complicated process," said Dr. Hiromi Yanagisawa, assistant professor of molecular biology and the study's other co-senior author. "We need to decode what is necessary in this process, but degrading enzymes are the main therapeutic focus."

Dr. Word said, "The bottom line is the whole matrix is maintained by a balance between synthesis and degradation. Our goal is to optimize pelvic organ support and target these proteases that degrade the matrix."


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Contact: Robin Russell
robin.russell@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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