Repetitive mechanical stretch increases extracellular collagenase activity in vaginal fibroblasts.

Female pelvic medicine & reconstructive surgery

PubMedID: 21603077

Zong W, Jallah ZC, Stein SE, Abramowitch SD, Moalli PA. Repetitive mechanical stretch increases extracellular collagenase activity in vaginal fibroblasts. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2010;16(5):257-262.
OBJECTIVES
The objectives were 1) to determine whether human vaginal fibroblasts are mechanosensitive and 2) to study the impact of mechanical stretch on these cells in the presence and absence of hormones.

METHODS
Fibroblasts obtained from biopsies of full thickness vagina of 3 women were cyclically biaxially stretched at a magnitude of 8 and 16% for 72 hours with or without 17-ß-estradiol plus progesterone.Culture media was collected and total collagenase activity was measured in duplicate using a fluorogenic substrate degradation assay.

DATA
were analyzed at the 0.05 level of significance using Student t-test.

RESULTS
Cells remained 90% viable throughout the experiments.Relative to the controls, hormonal treatment alone decreased collagenase activity (P=0. 008). In the presence of mechanical stretch and in the absence of hormones, collagenase activity was increased (8% elongation, P=0. 04; 16% elongation, P=0. 001, respectively). The increase in collagenase activity was linearly correlated with magnitude (P<0. 001). In the presence of hormones, the increase in enzyme activity by mechanical stretch was suppressed to baseline control levels (P=0. 46). There was no difference in suppression by hormones by magnitude (P=0. 48).

CONCLUSIONS
Vaginal connective tissue fibroblasts are mechanosensitive with increased collagenase activity in the presence of stretch.This degradative behavior is inhibited in the presence of hormones. The data provide a mechanism by which events that induce vaginal stretch may lead to progression of pelvic organ prolapse, particularly, in the absence of hormones. Further studies are needed to determine whether these events lead to tissue with inferior mechanical properties.