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Expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and its regulators in the unstable coronary atherosclerotic plaque

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Unstable coronary syndromes, initiated by rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque, may involve the activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The regulation of MMP activity is complex and involves three steps. First, an inactive pro-MMP is transcriptionally regulated, a process that is likely to involve the transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). Secondly, the pro-MMP is proteolytically cleaved into an active MMP. Plasmin has been suggested to be the major activator of MMPs in vivo. Thirdly, the activated MMP can be inhibited by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMPs). We investigated if expression of MMP9 and its potential regulators are induced in unstable coronary plaques. Atherosclerotic plaques from patients with stable (n=22) and unstable (n=39) angina were obtained by directional coronary atherectomy and analysed by semiquantitative RT-PCR and immunohisto-chemistry. Plasma was collected for ELISA analysis. mRNA for MMP9 as well as plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) was increased in unstable plaques, while tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA) expression was similar in stable and unstable plaques. Plaques from unstable patients had an increased infiltration of macrophages and T-lymphocytes, nuclear localisation of AP-1 and the NF-κB subunit p65, as well as increased positive immunostaining for MMP9 and tPA. Plasma MMP9 antigen was elevated in unstable patients. MMP9 is expressed in the unstable coronary atherosclerotic plaque, as are its transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulators.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Crafoord Laboratory, South Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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