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Ann Neurol. 1998 Apr;43(4):427-34.

Matrix metalloproteinases MMP-9 and MMP-7 are expressed in experimental autoimmune neuritis and the Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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Department of Neurology, Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, Germany.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of enzymes that may be implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory demyelinating disorders such as multiple sclerosis. The present study investigated the expression of 92-kd gelatinase (MMP-9) and five other MMPs in sciatic nerve from Lewis rats with autoimmune experimental neuritis (EAN), an experimental model of the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed an up-regulation of MMP-9 mRNA with peak levels concurrent with maximal disease severity. Increased mRNA expression was associated with enhanced enzyme activity, as detected by gelatin zymography. Immunohistochemically, MMP-9 could be localized primarily around blood vessels within the epineurium and endoneurium in diseased but not normal sciatic nerve. Among all other MMPs investigated, mRNA levels of matrilysin (MMP-7) were found to be up-regulated at the peak of the disorder, remaining at high levels throughout the clinical recovery phase of the disease. To apply these findings to human disease, sural nerve biopsies from GBS patients were examined. By using immunohistochemistry, positive immunoreactivity against MMP-9 and MMP-7 was noted and corroborated by demonstrating augmented mRNA expression in comparison with noninflammatory neuropathies. Furthermore, increased MMP-9 activity was detected by zymography. These findings indicate that 92-kd gelatinase and matrilysin are selectively up-regulated during EAN and expressed in nerves of GBS patients and thus may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory demyelination of the peripheral nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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