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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ubiquitous elevation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression in the vasculature of patients with abdominal aneurysms.

BACKGROUND: Patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) exhibit arterial dilation and altered matrix composition throughout the vasculature. Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is the dominant elastase in small AAAs, and overexpression of MMP-2 in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) may be a primary etiological event in aneurysm genesis. The aim of this study was to investigate MMP-2 production in vascular tissue remote from the abdominal aorta. METHODS AND RESULTS: Inferior mesenteric vein (IMV) was harvested from patients undergoing aneurysm repair (n=21) or colectomy for diverticular disease (n=13, control). Matrix composition of the vessels was determined by stereological techniques. MMPs were extracted from tissue homogenates and quantified by gelatin zymography and ELISA. MMP-2, membrane type-1 MMP (MT1-MMP), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases type 2 (TIMP-2) expression were determined by Northern analysis. SMCs were isolated from IMV, and the production and expression of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 in the SMC lines were quantified. Tissue homogenates and isolated inferior mesenteric SMCs from patients with aneurysms demonstrated significantly elevated MMP-2 levels, with no difference in TIMP-2 or MT1-MMP. These differences were a result of increased MMP-2 expression. Histological examination revealed fragmentation of elastin fibers within venous tissue obtained from patients with AAA and a significant depletion of the elastin within the media. In situ zymography localized elastolysis to medial SMCs. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with AAA have elevated MMP-2 levels in the vasculature remote from the aorta. This finding is due to increased MMP-2 expression from SMCs, a characteristic maintained in tissue culture. These data support both the systemic nature of aneurysmal disease and a primary role of MMP-2 in aneurysm formation.[1]


  1. Ubiquitous elevation of matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression in the vasculature of patients with abdominal aneurysms. Goodall, S., Crowther, M., Hemingway, D.M., Bell, P.R., Thompson, M.M. Circulation (2001) [Pubmed]
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