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Ann Rheum Dis 66:1429-1435 doi:10.1136/ard.2006.068148
  • Extended report

Gelatinase expression and proteolytic activity in giant-cell arteritis

  1. Marta Segarra1,
  2. Ana García-Martínez1,
  3. Montse Sánchez2,
  4. José Hernández-Rodríguez1,
  5. Ester Lozano1,
  6. Josep M Grau1,
  7. Maria C Cid1
  1. 1
    Vasculitis Research Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2
    Vasculitis Research Unit, Department of Pathology, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
  1. Maria C Cid, MD, Vasculitis Research Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clínic, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain; mccid{at}clinic.ub.es
  • Accepted 14 April 2007
  • Published Online First 14 May 2007

Abstract

Objectives: Gelatinases (MMP2 and MMP9) are expressed in giant-cell arteritis (GCA) and are thought to play a role in vessel disruption. However, their activation status and enzymatic activity have not been evaluated. Our aim was to investigate the distribution and proteolytic activity of gelatinases in GCA lesions at different stages.

Methods: Expression of MMP2, MMP9, MMP2-activator MMP14 and their natural inhibitors TIMP1 and TIMP2 was determined by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry in temporal artery sections from 46 patients and 12 controls. MMP activation status and enzymatic activity were assessed by gelatin and film in situ zymography.

Results: Vascular smooth muscle cells from normal specimens constitutively expressed pro-MMP2 and its inhibitor TIMP2 with no resulting proteolytic activity. In GCA MMP2, MMP9 and MMP14 were strongly expressed in their active form by infiltrating leucocytes. Inflamed arteries also expressed TIMP1 and TIMP2. However, the MMP9/TIMP1 and MMP2/TIMP2 ratios were higher in patients compared with controls, indicating an increased proteolytic balance in GCA which was confirmed by in situ zymography. Maximal gelatinase expression and activity occurred at the granulomatous areas surrounding the internal elastic lamina (IEL). Myointimal cells also expressed MMPs and exhibited proteolytic activity, suggesting a role for gelatinases in vascular remodelling and repair.

Conclusions: GCA lesions show intense expression of gelatinases. Activators and inhibitors are regulated to yield enhanced gelatinase activation and proteolytic activity. Distribution of expression and proteolytic activity suggests that gelatinases have a major role not only in the progression of inflammatory infiltrates and vessel destruction but also in vessel repair.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Results partially presented at the 69th and 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, San Diego, CA, November 2005 and Washington, DC, November 2006.

  • Abbreviations:
    GCA
    giant-cell arteritis
    IEL
    internal elastic lamina
    VSMC
    vascular smooth muscle cells