Background and aims Increased levels of MMP-9 were reported in serum samples of SLE patients versus healthy controls, with the suggestion that MMP-9 plays a negative role in SLE.1-3 As a contrast, others demonstrated an inverse correlation between the levels of MMP-9 and anti-dsDNA in serum of SLE patients,4 the latter being a marker of disease severity.
The double knock-out mice model B6lpr/lprMMP-9-/- mice shows reduced survival with extreme lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly, high lymphoproliferation, increased autoantibody (aAb) production and pronounced autoimmune tissue injury comparing with B6lpr/lpr.5 These data supports our suggestion that MMP-9 plays an important role in the clearance of autoantigens (aAg).5
Methods Our present goal is to analyse if MMP-9 plays a role in immune complex (IC) clearance.
Biochemical and molecular techniques
Results Our data suggested that MMP-9 degrades aAg, coupled to immunoglobulins in IC, but the efficiency of cleavage depends of the nature of the IC. Our preclinical data in the B6lpr/lpr lupus animal model were validated with samples from SLE patients.
Conclusions All these data may be interpreted in the way that MMP-9 acts as a protective factor in the development of the disease. Consequently, a profound study of the role of MMP-9 in SLE will generate new and interesting data about pathophysiology and progression of the disease and allow us to develop new effective treatment options
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