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Gastroenterology. 2011 Oct;141(4):1283-92, 1292.e1-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.06.035. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Matrix metalloproteinase-9 inhibition reduces inflammation and improves motility in murine models of postoperative ileus.

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Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Division, Spring House, Pennsylvania, USA.



Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, a member of the gelatinase family of MMPs, mediates leukocyte migration during inflammation. Inflammation contributes to development of postoperative ileus (POI), which is caused by physical disturbances to the bowel during abdominal surgery. We evaluated the role of MMP-9 in POI and investigated whether disruption of MMP-9 or administration of an inhibitor of MMP-9 activity reduced cellular inflammation and bowel dysmotility in rat and mouse models of POI.


Mice and rats underwent laparotomy and bowel manipulation; bowel tissues were collected 3 to 24 hours later and analyzed by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, immunoblot, in situ zymography, and functional analyses.


Bowel manipulation resulted in a time-dependent increase in MMP-9 expression within the intestinal muscularis; increases in MMP-9 messenger RNA were inducible nitric oxide synthase dependent. Immunoblot analyses confirmed the presence of the proenzyme and the catalytically active form of MMP-9. Administration of MMP-2/MMP-9 II, a dual active-site inhibitor, reduced the number of myeloperoxidase-positive immune cells that infiltrated the muscularis and prevented the surgically induced reduction in bowel smooth muscle contractility. Zymography analysis, performed in muscularis whole mounts in situ, indicated that MMP-9 and not MMP-2 mediated the gelatinase activity observed in infiltrating cells. MMP-9 knockout mice were protected from the inflammation and dysmotility associated with POI.


MMP-9 mediates cellular inflammatory responses within the intestinal muscularis in mouse and rat models of POI. Inhibition of MMP-9 activity reduced recruitment of immune cells to the intestinal muscularis, preventing loss of smooth muscle contractility. Induction of MMP-9 expression requires inducible nitric oxide synthase.

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