T cell homing into extravascular sites requires penetration across the subendothelial basal lamina, a specialized nonfibrillar connective tissue structure that anchors endothelial cells to parenchymal surfaces. Herein, we show that normal human T cells express gelatinases A and B, two matrix metalloproteinases active against the major basal lamina constituents, collagen types IV and V. Expression is confirmed at both the mRNA and protein levels. Gelatinase B is expressed constitutively, whereas gelatinases A and B expression is induced by T cell activation. In vitro migration of resting T cells across a basal lamina equivalent is mediated by gelatinase B, because it is specifically blocked by GM6001, a hydroxamic acid inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases. Inhibition of T cell homing by interference with gelatinase function may represent a useful approach to the treatment of T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.

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