Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in pleural effusions of tuberculosis and lung cancer

Respiration. 2005 Mar-Apr;72(2):166-75. doi: 10.1159/000084048.


Background: Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 has been implicated in the development of pleural effusions.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the expression of MMP-9 in pleural effusions of tuberculosis, lung cancer and transudates.

Methods: Ninety-one patients (37 tuberculous pleural effusions, 42 malignant pleural effusions of lung cancer and 12 transudates) were included. Concentrations of pleural fluid MMP-9 and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 were determined by immunoassay. We also investigated the cellular localization of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction on lymphocytes from pleural effusions and by immunohistochemical analysis of pleural tissues.

Results: Pleural fluid MMP-9 levels, MMP-9/total protein and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratios were significantly higher in tuberculous pleural effusions, whilst TIMP-1 levels were similar in the three groups. MMP-9 levels positively correlated with TIMP-1 and lactate dehydrogenase levels, and negatively with pH and glucose levels in pleural effusions. MMP-9 mRNA expression in lymphocytes tended to be higher in malignant pleural effusions of lung cancer than in the other groups without reaching statistical significance. The strongest immunoreactivity for MMP-9 was observed in epithelioid cells of tuberculous pleural tissues. Much lower levels of MMP-9 expression were found in tumor cells of pleural tissues.

Conclusions: MMP-9 is increased in tuberculous pleural effusions compared with transudates and malignant pleural effusions of lung cancer and is produced predominantly by epithelioid cells in the granulomas of tuberculous pleural tissues.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma / enzymology
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Extracellular Fluid / cytology
  • Extracellular Fluid / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Pleura / enzymology
  • Pleura / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / enzymology*
  • Pleural Effusion / etiology
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / enzymology
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / pathology
  • RNA / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / genetics
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / enzymology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / pathology


  • Genetic Markers
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1
  • RNA
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9