OBJECTIVE To assess whether increased collagenolysis precedes severe chronic lung disease (CLD).
METHODS Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and MMP-8 (enzymes that degrade type I collagen, the main structural protein of lung extracellular matrix) were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay in 100 bronchoalveolar lavage samples taken during the first 6 postnatal days from 45 ventilated preterm babies < 33 weeks gestation. The median value for each baby was calculated. CLD was defined as an oxygen requirement after the 36th week after conception.
RESULTS MMP-8 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were higher (median 13 ng/ml) in 20 babies who developed CLD than in 25 without CLD (median 2 ng/ml). No MMP-1 was detected in any sample.
CONCLUSIONS MMP-8 can be detected in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from preterm babies, and higher levels are found in those who later develop CLD. MMP-8 may contribute to lung injury that occurs as a prelude to CLD.
- chronic lung disease
- extracellular matrix
- matrix metalloproteinase
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