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Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Feb;99(2):271-9.

Circulating matrix metalloproteinases 1, 2, 9 and their inhibitors TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 as serum markers of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C: comparison with PIIINP and hyaluronic acid.

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  • 1Département d 'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, CHU de Grenoble, France.



Histological examination of liver biopsy is currently required in the management of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Our aim was to evaluate the diagnostic utility of a panel of circulating markers in detecting the stage of fibrosis.


One hundred and ninety four-patients who had undergone a percutaneous liver biopsy before antiviral treatment, and 194 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects were studied. Serum levels of hyaluronate, procollagen type III N-terminal peptide (PIIINP), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1, MMP-2, MMP-9 and their tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2 were determined by RIA and ELISA. Histological lesions were staged according to the METAVIR score.


Hyaluronate, PIIINP, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 serum levels were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Six markers were significantly correlated with fibrosis: MMP-2 (r = 0.28; p < 0.01), TIMP-1 (r = 0.42; p < 0.001), HA (r = 0.50; p < 0.001), PIIINP (r = 0.62; p < 0.0001), MMP-1 (r = -0.32; p < 0.01), and MMP-9 (r = -0.22; p < 0.05). By multivariate analysis, only PIIINP and MMP-1 were independently associated with fibrosis, and were combined using the equation of the logistic regression model. Using receiver-operating characteristics analysis, the area under the curve of the score to discriminate mild (FO/F1) from significant fibrosis (F2/F3/F4) was 0.82, with a sensitivity of 60% for a specificity of 92%.


Our results suggest that combining two serum markers reflecting fibrogenesis (PIIINP) and fibrolysis (MMP-1) may provide a useful tool for evaluating liver fibrosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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