Background: Neutrophil activation with concomitant matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) release has been implicated in the development of sepsis-induced acute lung injury. We hypothesized that COL-3, a chemically modified tetracycline known to inhibit MMP-2 and MMP-9, would reduce lung injury and improve survival in rats following cecal ligation and puncture (CLP).
Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were separated into five groups: 1) sham CLP+ carboxymethylcellulose (CMC; vehicle for COL-3, n = 6); 2) sham CLP + COL-3 (n = 6); 3) CLP + CMC (n = 10); 4) CLP + single-dose (SD) COL-3 administered concomitant with CLP (n = 9); and 5) CLP + multiple-dose (MD) COL-3 administered concomitant with CLP and at 24 h after CLP (n = 15). Rats were sacrificed at 168 h (7 days) or immediately after death, with survival defined as hours after CLP. Histological lung assessment was made based on neutrophil infiltration, alveolar wall thickening, and intraalveolar edema fluid. Lung MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels were assessed by immunohistochemistry. MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels were correlated with survival by simple regression analysis.
Results: The mortality of rats in the cecal ligation and puncture without treatment group (CLP + CMC) was 70% at 168 h. A single dose of COL-3 in the CLP + COL-3 (SD) group significantly reduced mortality to 54%. Furthermore, with a repeat dose of COL-3 at 24 h after CLP, mortality was significantly reduced to 33%. Pathologic lung changes seen histologically in the CLP + CMC group were significantly reduced by COL-3. A significant reduction in lung tissue levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 was noted in both groups treated with COL-3. Reduction of MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels correlated with improved survival.
Conclusion: Inhibition of MMP-2 and MMP-9 by COL-3 in a clinically relevant model of sepsis-induced acute lung injury reduces pulmonary injury and improves survival in a dose-dependent fashion. Our results suggest that prophylactic treatment with COL-3 in high-risk patients may reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with sepsis-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome.