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119 Matrix metalloproteinase-9/mmp-9/gelatinase b in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  1. E Ugarte Berzal,
  2. L Boon,
  3. E Martens,
  4. J Vandooren,
  5. C Benedicte and
  6. G Opdenakker
  1. K.U.L., Immunobiology, Leuven, Belgium


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


  1. Clin Biochem 2008;41:955–9.

  2. Arthritis Res Ther 2004;6:R551–6.

  3. Arthritis Rheum 2004;50:858–65.

  4. Mol Pathol 2003;56:244–7.

  5. J Autoimmun 2011;36 :239–52.

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