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Int J Exp Pathol. 2000 Jun;81(3):199-209.

Treatment with BB-94, a broad spectrum inhibitor of zinc-dependent metalloproteinases, causes deviation of the cytokine profile towards type-2 in experimental pulmonary tuberculosis in Balb/c mice.

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Experimental Pathology Laboratory, Department of Pathology, Instituto Nacional de la Nutricion 'Salvador Zubiran', Mexico City, Mexico.


BB-94 (batimastat) is a broad- spectrum hydroxamic acid-based zinc metalloproteinase inhibitor that inhibits both the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and members of the ADAM family of enzymes such as Tumour Necrosis Factor-alpha Cleaving Enzyme (TACE). These enzymes are involved in the regulation of inflammatory processes in tuberculosis. Balb/c mice infected with M. tuberculosis via the intratracheal route were treated with BB-94 for 1 month, starting on the day of infection. Immunohistochemistry, semiquantitative RT-PCR and ELISA assays for cytokines revealed a deficit in IL-1 and IL-2 expression and a premature bias towards IL-4 expression, accompanied by a delay in granuloma formation and more rapid progression of disease in BB-94-treated animals. This situation corrected itself after the drug was withdrawn at 28 days. In contrast, when BB-94 was administered only after 1 month there were no significant changes apart from the presence of amyloid, and a paradoxically increased expression of IL-1alpha. These results cast light on mechanisms of immunity in tuberculosis and also indicate that in patients treated with similar broad-spectrum MMP inhibitors there may be a risk of inappropriate deviation of some immune responses towards a Type-2 cytokine profile.

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