Objective: To determine whether the fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin, which can cause tendon pain and rupture in a proportion of treated patients, affects the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in human tendon-derived cells in culture.
Methods: Cell cultures were derived from 6 separate tendon explants, and were incubated in 6-well culture plates for 2 periods of 48 hours each, with ciprofloxacin (or DMSO in controls) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), alone and in combination. Samples of supernatant medium from the second 48-hour incubation were assayed for MMPs 1, 2, and 3 by Western blotting. RNA was extracted from the cells and assayed for MMP messenger RNA (mRNA) by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, with normalization for GAPDH mRNA.
Results: Unstimulated tendon cells expressed low or undetectable levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3, and substantial levels of MMP-2. IL-1beta induced a substantial output of both MMP-1 and MMP-3 into cell supernatants, reflecting increases (typically 100-fold) in MMP mRNA, but had only minor effects on MMP-2 expression. Ciprofloxacin had no detectable effect on MMP output in unstimulated cells. Preincubation with ciprofloxacin potentiated IL-1beta-stimulated MMP-3 output, reflecting a similar effect on MMP-3 mRNA expression. Ciprofloxacin also potentiated IL-1beta-stimulated MMP-1 mRNA expression, but did not potentiate the output of MMP-1, and had no significant effects on MMP-2 mRNA expression or output.
Conclusion: Ciprofloxacin can selectively enhance MMP expression in tendon-derived cells. Such effects might compromise tendon microstructure and integrity.