We exposed human macrophages isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy donors to metal and bone-cement particles from 0.2 to 10 μm in size. Zymography showed that macrophages exposed to titanium alloy and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) particles released a 92- and 72-kDa gelatinase in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Western immunoblotting confirmed that the 92- and 72-kDa gelatinolytic activities corresponded to matrix metalloproteinase-9 and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-9, MMP-2), respectively. Western immunoblotting also indicated that titanium alloy and PMMA particles increased the release of MMP-1. Northern blotting showed elevated mRNA signal levels for MMP-1, MMP-2, and MMP-9 after exposure to both types of particle. Collagenolytic activity also increased in the macrophage culture medium in response to both types of particle. Our findings support the hypothesis that macrophages release MMPs in proportion to the amount of particulate debris within periprosthetic tissues.
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