Background: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their specific inhibitors (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases [TIMPs]), are involved in adipogenesis, angiogenesis and remodeling of extracellular matrix. MMPs and TIMPs have been shown to be associated with various diseases such as neurological disorders, malignancies and cardiovascular disease. MMPs and TIMPs are thought to play a major role in extensive reorganization of the adipose tissue in obesity.
Methods and materials: To test whether significant weight loss alters circulating MMPs and TIMPs, 18 morbidly obese women, who underwent bariatric surgery for weight loss, were investigated before and one year after surgery in a prospective design study. Body composition, glucose and lipid metabolism parameters were determined in all study subjects before and after weight loss. Circulating MMP-2, -3, -7 and TIMP-1, -2 and -4 serum levels were measured using commercially available, enzyme-linked immunoassays.
Results: Pronounced weight loss was accompanied by improvements in glucose homeostasis and lipid parameters. In the mean time MMP-2 and MMP-3, as well as TIMP-1, -2 and TIMP-4 concentrations were not affected by significant weight loss, and circulating MMP-7 increased significantly after bariatric surgery, although without reaching the standard levels as determined in 18, lean, healthy women.
Conclusion: Our data indicate that reduced MMP-7 levels in obesity might be restored by significant weight loss, suggesting that the reorganization of adipose tissue in obesity might be partially reversible by weight reduction. We hypothesize that increased circulating MMP-7 might indicate enhanced adipocyte differentiation in subjects who had undergone bariatric surgery.