Objective: To evaluate the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in the pathogenesis of the lesions of pulmonary Langerhans' cell granulomatosis.
Design: Immunohistochemical and confocal microscopic studies were made of lung biopsy specimens from five patients with pulmonary Langerhans' cell granulomatosis.
Results: The reactivity of Langerhans' cells was moderate to intense for MMP-2, weaker for MMP-9, and faint for TIMP-1 and TIMP-2. Type IV collagen colocalized with MMP-2 in areas of damage to epithelial basement membranes, a finding that emphasizes the potential importance of this enzyme in the pathogenesis of the destructive lesions of pulmonary Langerhans' cell granulomatosis. In the more advanced fibrotic lesions, TIMP-2 colocalized with basement membranes and with fibrillar collagen, suggesting that it contributes to the permanence of the fibrosis.
Conclusion: These results indicate an important role for MMPs and TIMPs in pulmonary Langerhans' cell granulomatosis.