Matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

I Niebroj-Dobosz, P Janik, B Sokołowska, H Kwiecinski
European Journal of Neurology 2010, 17 (2): 226-31

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We investigated the expression of MMPs and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlating the results with age, disease duration and the clinical course.

METHODS: The material consisted of 30 ALS patients and 15 age-matched healthy controls. ELISA method to determine the expression of MT-MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in serum and CSF was used. MMP-2 and MMP-9 by zymography was also tested.

RESULTS: In serum MT-MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9 and TIMP-1 expression was increased, especially in mild ALS cases. TIMP-2 values were normal. In CSF MT-MMP-1, MMP-2 and TIMP-1 level was either increased or normal, that of MMP-9 was decreased. TIMP-2 did not change. No correlation of MMPs and TIMP-1 expression in serum and CSF and the age of the patients was found. A correlation was observed between MMPs and TIMPs and disease duration.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased level of MMPs and TIMP-1 of ALS patients may reflect the degeneration process of motor neurons and skeletal muscles and/or is associated with tissues remodeling. The low level of MMP-9 in CSF may result from impaired balance between MMP-9 and TIMP-1 and/or its increased intrathecal degradation and physical clearance. Although the role of changed MMPs/TIMPs level in the pathogenesis of ALS is not clear their analysis in serum may be used as prognostic factor and a potential marker for monitoring treatment effects.

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