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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2009 Jun 15;129(3-4):221-30. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.11.003. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Leukocyte-derived and endogenous matrix metalloproteinases in the lamellae of horses with naturally acquired and experimentally induced laminitis.

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Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.



Inflammation and dysregulation of endogenous matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) production are implicated in the development of equine laminitis. In this study, we examine quantitative relationships among levels of leukocyte-derived proMMP-9 and MMP-9, lamellar proMMP-2 and MMP-2, and expression of proMMP-2 processing enzymes, MT1-MMP/PACE4, as steps towards determining whether inflammation and dysregulation of endogenous MMP production are independent or co-dependent processes.


Archived samples of lamellae from horses with naturally acquired laminitis (n = 12), and from horses administered a pro-laminitic gastric bolus of starch gruel were used, the latter horses falling into two groups: (i) responders (CHO-R, n = 7), which developed Obel grade 3-lameness and (ii) non-responders (CHO-NR, n = 4), which did not become lame.


Lamellar tissue extracts were analyzed by gelatin zymography to determine gelatinase content and by a myeloperoxidase ELISA to quantify relative monocyte/neutrophil content in the tissue. Real-time PCR was employed to measure gene expression of MT1-MMP and PACE4.


Extracts of lamellae from control horses, CHO-NR and horses with chronic (non-aggravated) laminitis had similarly low levels of pro and processed MMP-9 and MMP-2. In contrast, proMMP-9 was significantly elevated in extracts of lamellae from CHO-R and horses with naturally acquired acute and aggravated chronic laminitis. Lamellar MMP-2 was also increased significantly in the CHO-R and aggravated chronic laminitis groups, although not in the horses with naturally acquired acute laminitis. Concentrations of proMMP-9 correlated directly with myeloperoxidase content in lamellar extracts, suggesting production/induction by inflammatory leukocytes. In contrast, concentrations of proMMP-2 and MMP-2 were unrelated to concentrations of myeloperoxidase or proMMP-9 suggesting that leukocyte infiltration and dysregulation of endogenous MMP-2 are independent processes most likely with distinct inducers. Neither MT1-MMP nor PACE4 gene expression was elevated relative to controls in any group; this is discussed with respect to proMMP-2 processing in disease. In addition, variability in relative concentrations of lamellar MMPs observed among horses with Obel grade 3-lameness is discussed in the context of laminitis risk assessment and disease outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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