Background/aims: Matrix metalloproteinases are major contributors in the breakdown and reconstitution of basement membranes and extracellular matrix in pathophysiological processes. We assessed the expression of matrix metalloproteinases-2 and -9 in intestinal tissue of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Patients/methods: Resected tissue specimens from patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis and control tissue from patients with a colorectal carcinoma were used for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, zymography, activity assay, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry to evaluate the expression of these matrix metalloproteinases.
Results: Matrix metalloproteinase-2 and more strongly matrix metalloproteinase-9 protein and mRNA were markedly increased in inflammatory bowel disease tissues, with the highest levels in severely inflamed tissues. Immunohistochemistry showed that matrix metalloproteinase-2 was present in the extracellular matrix of the submucosa, with a lower but more generalised expression in the severely inflamed regions. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 was most prominent in polymorphonuclear leukocytes and was increased, also in activity, in all inflammatory bowel disease tissues. An increased matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression in the extracellular matrix was observed in relation to the severity of inflammation.
Conclusions: Matrix metalloproteinases-2 and -9 are enhanced in the intestinal tissue and seem to be actively involved in the inflammatory and remodelling processes in inflammatory bowel disease, without major differences between CD and UC.