Abstract: Increased matrix metalloproteinase-3 serum levels in rheumatic diseases: relationship with synovitis and steroid treatment

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Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2002;61:161-166

EXTENDED REPORT

C Ribbens1, M Martin y Porras1, N Franchimont1, M-J Kaiser1, J-M Jaspar1, P Damas2, F A Houssiau3 and M G Malaise1

1 Department of Rheumatology, University of Liége, Belgium

2 Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Liége

3 Department of Rheumatology, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

Correspondence to:

Dr C Ribbens, Rheumatology Department, Room 155, CHU Sart-Tilman B35, B-4000 Liége, Belgium; Clio.Ribbens@ulg.ac.be

Objective: To determine matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) serum levels in patients with rheumatic diseases and to study the relation between MMP-3 and C reactive protein (CRP) levels.

Methods: MMP-3 serum levels were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in (a) patients with active inflammatory rheumatic diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, acute crystal arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis; (b) patients with active inflammatory systemic diseases: cutaneo-articular or renal systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis, and vasculitides; (c) patients with non-inflammatory rheumatic diseases: osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia; (d) critically ill patients without rheumatic diseases, representing an acute inflammatory control group; (e) healthy controls.

Results: MMP-3 serum levels were significantly increased in patients with active RA, psoriatic arthritis, and polymyalgia rheumatica, whether treated or not by corticosteroids, and in female patients with acute crystal arthritis. MMP-3 serum levels were normal in steroid-free patients with active cutaneo-articular or renal SLE, systemic sclerosis, and vasculitides but were significantly increased in steroid treated patients. MMP-3 levels were normal in fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and acute inflammatory controls. MMP-3 was significantly correlated with CRP in RA (r=0.5, p=0.0004) but not in any of the other disease groups.

Conclusions: MMP-3 serum levels are increased in inflammatory rheumatic diseases characterised by joint synovitis, such as RA, polymyalgia rheumatica, psoriatic arthritis, and acute crystal arthritis—that is, whether the diseases are acute or chronic, erosive or not. They are normal in SLE, systemic sclerosis, and vasculitides as well as in non-rheumatic inflammatory controls, but are significantly increased by steroids. These data strongly suggest that serum MMP-3 reflects synovial inflammation.

© 2002 by Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

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