Objective: To determine the expression pattern and cellular source of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and nonsystemic vasculitic neuropathy (NSVN).
Background: MMPs are endopeptidases involved in tissue destruction and infiltration by immune cells in multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Enzyme inhibitors of MMPs attenuate clinical symptoms in corresponding animal models of these diseases. MMP inhibition may therefore be a novel approach for the treatment of CIDP and NSVN. However, the spectrum of MMPs expressed in chronic inflammatory neuropathies has not been established.
Methods: The expression of MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, and MMP-9 in T cells, macrophages, and stromal cells in CIDP, NSVN, and noninflammatory neuropathies (NIN) was quantitated by immunohistochemistry. Results were correlated with clinical and electrophysiologic findings.
Results: The production of MMP-2 and MMP-9 is increased in nerve tissue in CIDP and NSVN compared with NIN. T cells are the predominant source of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in CIDP and NSVN, whereas macrophages contribute only to a minor extent. Stromal cells of the perineurium/epineurium are an additional source of MMP-2 in NSVN, but not in CIDP. Expression of MMP-3 and MMP-7 was not detectable in CIDP or NSVN. Expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 did not correlate with clinical disease activity and electrophysiologic measurements.
Conclusions: The upregulation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 is a specific feature of CIDP and NSVN, and selective inhibitors of these enzymes could be used to prevent inflammatory tissue damage. The similar increase of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in both demyelinating (CIDP) and nondemyelinating (NSVN) neuropathies raises doubts about whether MMPs play a primary role in demyelination.