Zinc-triggered induction of tissue plasminogen activator by brain-derived neurotrophic factor and metalloproteinases

Ih Yeon Hwang, Eun Sun Sun, Ji Hak An, Hana Im, Sun Ho Lee, Joo Yong Lee, Pyung Lim Han, Jae Young Koh, Yang Hee Kim

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17 Scopus citations


Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is necessary for hippocampal long-term potentiation. Synaptically released zinc also contributes to long-term potentiation, especially in the hippocampal CA3 region. Using cortical cultures, we examined whether zinc increased the concentration and/or activity of tPA. Two hours after a 10-min exposure to 300 μM zinc, expression of tPA and its substrate, plasminogen, were significantly increased, as was the proteolytic activity of tPA. In contrast, increasing extracellular or intracellular calcium levels did not affect the expression or secretion of tPA. Changing zinc influx or chelating intracellular zinc also failed to alter tPA/plasminogen induction by zinc, indicating that zinc acts extracellularly. Zinc-mediated extracellular activation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) underlies the up-regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin receptor kinase (Trk) signaling. Consistent with these findings, co-treatment with a neutralizing antibody against BDNF or specific inhibitors of MMPs or Trk largely reversed tPA/plasminogen induction by zinc. Treatment of cortical cultures with p-aminophenylmercuric acetate, an MMP activator, MMP-2, or BDNF alone induced tPA/plasminogen expression. BDNF mRNA and protein expression was also increased by zinc and mediated by MMPs. Thus, an extracellular zinc-dependent, MMP- and BDNF-mediated synaptic mechanism may regulate the levels and activity of tPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-863
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • long-term potentiation
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • plasmin
  • plasminogen
  • pro-BDNF
  • synaptic plasticity


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