Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is frequently associated with interstitial lung disease (ILD) often leading to lung fibrosis. In this study we investigated whether matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) and its natural inhibitor; the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1), would be associated with remodelling in ILD in SSc. Levels of total MMP-9, pro-MMP-9 and TIMP-1 were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from nine SSc patients with ILD, seven SSc patients without ILD and 16 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Total MMP-9 and pro-MMP-9 levels were significantly elevated in SSc patients with ILD, compared to levels in SSc patients without ILD and healthy controls. In SSc patients with ILD calculated active MMP-9 levels were significantly higher than in SSc patients without ILD and tended to be higher than in healthy controls. TIMP-1 levels were elevated in both patient groups compared to healthy controls. Total-, pro- and active MMP-9 levels as well as pro-MMP-TIMP-1 and active MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratios were inversely associated with total lung capacity. The present study suggests that MMP-9 plays a pathophysiological role in the remodelling in ILD and lung fibrosis associated with SSc, and may represent a new therapeutic target in this condition.
- Bronchoalveolar lavage
- Interstitial lung disease
- Systemic sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine