Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is characterized by arterial wall inflammation and matrix degradation. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-22 and -29 and pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-18 (IL18) are present in human hearts. IL18 may regulate MMP-22 and -29 expression, which may correlate with CHD progression.
Methods and results: Immunoblot analysis showed that IL18 induced MMP-22 expression in human aortic smooth muscle cells. The Mann Whitney test from a prospective study of 194 CHD patients and 68 non-CHD controls demonstrated higher plasma levels of IL18, MMP-22 and -29 in CHD patients than in the controls. A logistic regression test suggested that plasma IL18 (odds ratio (OR)=1.131, P=0.007), MMP-22 (OR=1.213, P=0.040), and MMP-29 (OR=1.198, P=0.033) were independent risk factors of CHD. Pearson's correlation test showed that IL18 (coefficient (r)=0.214, P=0.045; r=0.246, P=0.031) and MMP-22 (r=0.273, P=0.006; r=0.286, P=0.012) were associated with the Gensini score before and after adjusting for potential confounding factors. The multivariate Pearson's correlation test showed that plasma MMP-22 levels correlated positively with high-sensitive-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (r=0.167, P=0.023), and MMP-29 levels correlated negatively with triglyceride (r=-0.169, P=0.018). Spearman's correlation test indicated that plasma IL18 levels associated positively with plasma MMP-22 (r=0.845, P<0.001) and MMP-29 (r=0.548, P<0.001).
Conclusions: Our observations suggest that IL18, MMP-22 and -29 serve as biomarkers and independent risk factors of CHD. Increased systemic IL18 in CHD patients may contribute to elevated plasma MMP-22 and -29 levels in these patients.
Keywords: Interleukin-18; Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-22; MMP-29; Coronary heart disease; Risk factor.