Metalloproteinase inhibition prevents acute respiratory distress syndrome

J Surg Res. 2001 Aug;99(2):245-52. doi: 10.1006/jsre.2001.6180.


Background: The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs in patients with clearly identifiable risk factors, and its treatment remains merely supportive. We postulated that patients at risk for ARDS can be protected against lung injury by a prophylactic treatment strategy that targets neutrophil-derived proteases. We hypothesized that a chemically modified tetracycline 3 (COL-3), a potent inhibitor of neutrophil matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and neutrophil elastase (NE) with minimal toxicity, would prevent ARDS in our porcine endotoxin-induced ARDS model.

Methods: Yorkshire pigs were anesthetized, intubated, surgically instrumented for hemodynamic monitoring, and randomized into three groups: (1) control (n = 4), surgical instrumentation only; (2) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (n = 4), infusion of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide at 100 microg/kg; and (3) COL-3 + LPS (n = 5), ingestion of COL-3 (100 mg/kg) 12 h before LPS infusion. All animals were monitored for 6 h following LPS or sham LPS infusion. Serial bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were analyzed for MMP concentration by gelatin zymography. Lung tissue was fixed for morphometric assessment at necropsy.

Results: LPS infusion was marked by significant (P < 0.05) physiological deterioration as compared with the control group, including increased plateau airway pressure (P(plat)) (control = 15.7 +/- 0.4 mm Hg, LPS = 23.0 +/- 1.5 mm Hg) and a decrement in arterial oxygen partial pressure (P(a)O(2)) (LPS = 66 +/- 15 mm Hg, Control = 263 +/- 25 mm Hg) 6 h following LPS or sham LPS infusion, respectively. Pretreatment with COL-3 reduced the above pathophysiological changes 6 h following LPS infusion (P(plat) = 18.5 +/- 1.7 mm Hg, P(a)O(2) = 199 +/- 35 mm Hg; P = NS vs control). MMP-9 and MMP-2 concentration in BAL fluid was significantly increased between 2 and 4 h post-LPS infusion; COL-3 reduced the increase in MMP-9 and MMP-2 concentration at all time periods. Morphometrically LPS caused a significant sequestration of neutrophils and monocytes into pulmonary tissue. Pretreatment with COL-3 ameliorated this response. The wet/dry lung weight ratio was significantly greater (P < 0.05) in the LPS group (10.1 +/- 1.0 ratio) than in either the control (6.4 +/- 0.5 ratio) or LPS+COL-3 (7.4 +/- 0.6 ratio) group.

Conclusions: A single prophylactic treatment with COL-3 prevented lung injury in our model of endotoxin-induced ARDS. The proposed mechanism of COL-3 is a synergistic inhibition of the terminal neutrophil effectors MMPs and NE. Similar to the universal practice of prophylaxis against gastric stress ulceration and deep venous thromboses in trauma patients, chemically modified tetracyclines may likewise be administered to prevent acute lung injury in critically injured patients at risk of developing ARDS.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / blood
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Cardiac Output
  • Gelatin
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Metalloendopeptidases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Elastase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Edema / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Edema / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / metabolism
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Swine
  • Tetracycline / blood
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology*
  • Tetracyclines


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tetracyclines
  • tetracycline CMT-3
  • Gelatin
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Tetracycline