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Type I collagenases in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from preterm babies at risk of developing chronic lung disease
  1. D G Sweeta,
  2. K J McMahonb,
  3. A E Curleya,
  4. C M O'Connorb,
  5. H L Hallidaya
  1. aDepartment of Child Health, The Queen's University of Belfast and Regional Neonatal Unit, Royal Maternity Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, bDepartment of Medicine and Therapeutics, University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  1. Dr Sweet, Perinatal Room, Royal Maternity Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BB, Northern Irelanddsweet{at}


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
  • lungs
  • collagen
  • extracellular matrix
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • preterm

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