Proteolytic modifications of neuronal surfaces and the surrounding extracellular matrix are very important in neuronal development and regeneration. Increased activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors, due to secretion by macrophages and lymphocytes, occur in inflammatory processes that disrupt the blood brain barrier. However, neurons and microglia can also secrete these enzymes.
To identify the type of MMP present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and changes in the expression of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in patients with HTLV-1 associated tropical spastic paraparesis.
CSF samples from 12 patients with HTLV-1 associated tropical spastic paraparesis and 12 healthy controls were obtained by an atraumatic lumbar puncture. The presence of MMPs was measured by zymography and the relative amounts of TIMPs were measured by immunowestern blot.
In the CSF of both controls and patients, a similar gelatinolytic band corresponding to proMMP-2 (latent form) was observed. In 83.3% of patients with HTLV 1 associated tropical spastic paraparesis, the MMP-9 was also present. TIMP-1, TIMP-2 and TIMP-3 were elevated 2.24 +/- 0.72, 3.85 +/- 1.38 and 5.89 +/- 3.4 fold, respectively, in the CSF of patients as compared to controls.
Patients with HTLV-1 associated tropical spastic paraparesis have elevated activity of MMP-9 and levels of TIMPs in the CSF, when compared to healthy controls.