Objective: To quantify stromelysin and collagenase in synovial fluid (SF) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or traumatic knee injury.
Methods: Stromelysin and collagenase were measured in the SF of 33 patients with RA or posttraumatic knee injury, using specific double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Stromelysin was fractionated from representative SF, and the molecular form was identified by immunoblot analysis.
Results: The stromelysin concentration was approximately 20-fold higher than the collagenase concentration in the fluids from patients with RA and approximately 8-fold higher in the fluids from patients with traumatic injury. For both metalloproteinases, there was a higher enzyme concentration in RA SF than in the SF from patients with trauma (stromelysin 40.1 +/- 26 micrograms/ml [mean +/- SD] in RA SF, 8.5 +/- 15 micrograms/ml in trauma SF; collagenase 2.2 +/- 3.3 micrograms/ml in RA SF, 1.1 +/- 2.3 micrograms/ml in trauma SF). The majority of the stromelysin within the SF bound to reactive red-agarose and was identified as prostromelysin based on electrophoretic mobility and immunoblotting with monospecific antibodies.
Conclusion: The finding of high levels of stromelysin in SF from patients with RA supports the proposal that this enzyme may play a role in the connective tissue degradation observed in this disease.