A specific antiserum to purified rabbit tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) was raised in sheep, characterized and used to investigate the role of TIMP in a model system. Chondrocytes and endothelial cells cultured on 14C-labelled type I collagen films and stimulated to produce collagenase were unable to degrade the films unless the anti-TIMP antibody was added. The degradation induced was inhibited by a specific anti-rabbit collagenase antibody. It was concluded that TIMP is a major regulatory factor in cell-mediated collagen degradation.

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