Author(s): Rosenberg GA, Dencoff JE, Correa N Jr, Reiners M, Ford CC
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Abstract Contrast-enhanced MRI in patients with MS shows that increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) commonly occurs. The changes in capillary permeability often precede T2-weighted MRI evidence of tissue damage. In animal studies, intracerebral injection of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 72-kDa type IV collagenase (gelatinase A) opens the BBB by disrupting the basal lamina around capillaries. Steroids affect production of endogenous MMPs and tissue inhibitors to metalloproteinases (TIMPs). To determine the role of MMP activity in BBB damage during acute exacerbations of MS, we measured MMPs in the CSF of patients with MS. Patients (n = 7) given steroids to treat an acute episode of MS had CSF sampled before and after 3 days of methylprednisolone (1 g/day). Patients had a graded neurologic examination and gadolinium-enhanced MRI before treatment. CSF studies included total protein, cell count, and a demyelinating profile. We measured levels of MMPs, urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), and TIMPs by zymography, reverse zymography, and Western blots. The MMP, 92-kDa type IV collagenase (gelatinase B), fell from 216 +/- 70 before steroids to 54 +/- 26 relative lysis zone units (p < 0.046) after treatment. Similarly, uPA dropped from 3880 +/- 800 to 2655 +/- 353 (p < 0.03). Four patients with gadolinium enhancement on MRI had the most pronounced drop in gelatinase B and uPA. Western immunoblots showed an increase in a complex of gelatinase B and TIMPs after treatment, suggesting an increase in a TIMP (p < 0.05). Reverse zymography of CSF samples showed that steroids increased a TIMP with a molecular weight similar to that of mouse TIMP-3 (p = 0.053). Our results suggest that increased gelatinase B is associated with an open BBB on MRI. Steroids may improve capillary function by reducing activity of gelatinase B and uPA and increasing levels of TIMPs.
This article was published in Neurology
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science