Background: Tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) is approved for treatment of ischemic stroke patients, but it may increase the risk of intracranial bleeding (ICB). Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which can be activated through the plasminogen/plasmin system, may contribute to ICB after ischemic stroke.
Objectives: To explore the contribution of plasminogen, MMP-3 and MMP-9 to ICB associated with t-PA treatment after ischemic stroke.
Methods: Using a thrombotic middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCA-O) model, ICB was studied in mice with genetic deficiencies of plasminogen (Plg(-/-)), stromelysin-1 (MMP-3(-/-)), or gelatinase B (MMP-9(-/-)) and their corresponding wild-type (WT) littermates. The induction of MMP-3 and MMP-9 was also studied in C57BL/6 WT mice.
Results: ICB induced by t-PA (10 mg kg(-1)) was significantly less than WT in Plg(-/-) (P < 0.05) and MMP-3(-/-) (P < 0.05) but not in MMP-9(-/-) mice. Furthermore, administration of the broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor GM6001 after t-PA treatment reduced ICB significantly (P < 0.05) in MMP-3(+/+) mice, but had no effect on MMP-3(-/-) mice. MMP-3 expression was significantly enhanced at the ischemic hemisphere; with placebo treatment, it was expressed only in neurons, whereas it was up-regulated in endothelial cells with t-PA treatment. Although MMP-9 expression was also significantly enhanced at the ischemic brain, the amount and the distribution were comparable in mice with and without t-PA treatment.
Conclusions: Our data with gene-deficient mice thus suggest that plasminogen and MMP-3 are relatively more important than MMP-9 for the increased ICB induced by t-PA treatment of ischemic stroke.