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J Intern Med. 2005 Jan;257(1):110-6.

Abnormal circulating levels of metalloprotease 9 and its tissue inhibitor 1 in angiographically proven peripheral arterial disease: relationship to disease severity.

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University Department of Medicine, Haemostasis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Unit, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK.



Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with adaptive changes in the vascular and muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) in response to reduced blood flow. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs), are key modulators of ECM turnover. We hypothesized that patients with intermittent claudication (with low ankle-brachial blood pressure index, <0.8), and critical ischaemia would have raised circulating levels of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 compared with healthy controls, reflecting an increase in proteolytic activity which may be related to ECM turnover in PAD.


We studied 36 patients (23 males; 65 +/- 9 years) with intermittent claudication and 43 (25 males; 68 +/- 12) patients with critical ischaemia. All patients had angiographic evidence confirming significant PAD.


Circulating levels of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 were higher (both P < 0.0001) in the PAD patient groups compared with the controls. Patients with critical ischaemia had MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels that were significantly higher than those with intermittent claudication. There were no differences in circulating TIMP-2 levels between patients and controls. There was a modest positive correlation between the white cell count (WCC) and MMP-9, both patients with intermittent claudication (Spearman, r = 0.398, P = 0.016) and critical ischaemia (r = 0.378, P = 0.014).


We demonstrate higher levels of circulating MMP-9 and TIMP-1 in patients with intermittent claudication and critical ischaemia. Circulating concentrations of both markers can be related to disease severity, being higher in critical ischaemia compared with levels in intermittent claudication.

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