Serum MMP-3 in rheumatoid arthritis: correlation with systemic inflammation but not with erosive status

Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 May;38(5):407-10. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/38.5.407.


Objective: Metalloproteinases (MMP) play an important role in the remodelling of the extracellular matrix. However, evidence that they are responsible for tissue damage in pathological situations remains circumstantial. Stromelysin (MMP-3) production is increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and has been proposed as a marker of joint damage. The relevance of serum levels of MMP-3 to erosions in RA was studied.

Methods: Fifty-three patients with active RA of > 5 yr duration and with available X-rays were stratified according to disease duration. Hand X-rays were scored for erosions. Patients were then classified into upper and lower quartiles. Serum MMP-3 levels were compared between these two groups.

Results: No significant differences in serum MMP-3 were seen between high and low eroders. A statistically significant correlation was observed between sMMP-3 and erthyrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein.

Conclusions: Serum MMP-3 is not an independent marker of joint damage, but is correlated with systemic inflammation. Its precise role in joint damage in RA remains to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / enzymology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / pathology
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Extracellular Matrix / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Joints / enzymology
  • Joints / immunology
  • Joints / pathology
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / blood*
  • Middle Aged


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3