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Matrix metalloproteinases in the vein wall.

AIM: Matrix metalloproteinases contribute to extracellular matrix remodelling that can influence mechanical properties of the vein wall and predispose to varicose veins development. The aim of the study was to assess the following matrix metalloproteinases in the wall of varicose veins: tissue collagenase I (MMP-1), gelatinase A (MMP-2), gelatinase B (MMP-9) and stromelysin 1 (MMP-3).

METHODS: Normal, varicose and varicose veins complicated by thrombophlebitis were collected during the surgical treatment of 26 patients. In harvested tissues the presence of gelatinases was detected with zymography, contents of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3 and MMP-9 were evaluated with ELISA, activity of MMP-1 was assessed with HPLC and activity of MMP-2 with ELISA.

RESULTS: Zymography demonstrated particularly high contents of both gelatinases in the wall of varicose veins complicated by thrombophlebitis. The contents of MMP-1, MMP-2 and MMP-9 were significantly increased only in the wall of varicose veins complicated by thrombophlebitis, whereas the increased content of MMP-3 was also found in the wall of varicose veins. A significantly higher activity of MMP-1 was shown only in the wall of varicose veins complicated by thrombophlebitis, whereas an active form of MMP-2 was increased in the wall of varicose, as well as varicose veins complicated by thrombophlebitis, when compared with normal ones.

CONCLUSION: The wall of varicose veins, particularly those complicated by thrombophlebitis shows extensive alterations in the content and activity of matrix metalloproteinases, that may result in extracellular matrix remodelling, influence mechanical properties of the vein wall and predispose to further progression of the disease.

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