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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 May;113(5):1249-55. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2545-z. Epub 2012 Nov 17.

Circulating MMP-9 during exercise in humans.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Physiology C1-88 Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge 141 86, Stockholm, Sweden.


Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) is a member of a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases capable of degrading extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. A single bout of exercise increases levels of activated MMP-9 in skeletal muscle and in the circulation. However, whether the exercise-induced activation of MMP-9 is associated with ECM remodeling and the cellular source behind MMP-9 in the circulation is not known. In the present study ten healthy male subjects performed a single cycle exercise bout and arterial and venous femoral blood was collected. To test if exercise induces basal lamina degradation and if circulating levels of MMP-9 is related to a release from the exercising muscle, arteriovenous differences of collagen IV and MMP-9 were measured by ELISA and zymography, respectively. Furthermore, markers of neutrophil degranulation elastase and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) were measured by ELISA. Plasma levels of collagen IV increased during the exercise bout and an increased arteriovenous difference of collagen IV was noted at 27 min of exercise. Plasma levels of MMP-9 were increased at both 27 and 57 min of exercise but no arteriovenous difference was noted. No changes over time were detected for elastase and NGAL. The observed release of collagen IV from the exercising muscle indicate basal lamina turnover following a single bout of exercise. No detectable release of MMP-9 was observed, suggesting that the increase in plasma MMP-9 could come from a source other than the skeletal muscle.

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