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Lab Invest. 2006 Sep;86(9):873-88. Epub 2006 Jul 24.

Matrix metalloproteinases, tissue inhibitors of MMPs and TACE in experimental cerebral malaria.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunobiology, Rega Institute, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. philippe.vandensteen@rega.kuleuven.ac.be

Abstract

Cerebral malaria (CM) is a life-threatening disorder and a major medical problem in developing countries. It is caused by the sequestration of malaria-infected erythrocytes onto brain endothelia, followed by blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage and neurological deficit. In the present study, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were analysed in a mouse model of CM with Plasmodium berghei ANKA. Increased numbers of gelatinase B (MMP-9)-positive cells, which were also CD11b(+), were detected in the brain. In addition, activation of gelatinase B occurred in CM brains, and not in brains of mice with non-CM. However, selective genetic knockout of gelatinase B did not alter the clinical evolution of experimental CM. To study other protease balances, the mRNA expression levels of nine matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), five membrane-type MMPs, TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE) and the four tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) were analysed during CM in different organs. Significant alterations in expression were observed, including increases of the mRNAs of MMP-3, -8, -13 and -14 in the spleen, MMP-8, -12, -13 and -14 in the liver and MMP-8 and -13 in the brain. Net gelatinolytic activity, independent of gelatinase B and inhibitable with EDTA, was detected in situ in the endothelia of blood vessels in CM brains, but not in brains of mice with non-CM, suggesting that metalloproteases, different from gelatinase B, are active in the BBB environment in CM. The increase in MMP expression in the brain was significantly less pronounced after infection of C57Bl/6 mice with the noncerebral strain P. berghei NK65, but it was similar in CM-susceptible C57Bl/6 and CM-resistant Balb/C mice upon infection with P. berghei ANKA. Furthermore, in comparison with C57Bl/6 mice, a larger increase in TIMP-1 and a marked, >30-fold induction in MMP-3 were found in the brains of Balb/C mice, suggesting possible protective roles for TIMP-1 and MMP-3.

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