OBJECTIVE: To determine levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9, and the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2 in the plasma of women destined to develop preeclampsia prior to the onset of clinical disease. STUDY DESIGN: Plasma samples were taken from women whose pregnancies were subsequently complicated by preeclampsia and from normal pregnant women at 22 and 26 weeks and at delivery or diagnosis. Following equal protein loading, MMP-2 and 9 and TIMP–1 and 2 were quantified using zymography and Western blot analysis, respectively. RESULTS: Plasma MMP-2 levels were significantly elevated at 22 weeks (p = 0.02) and at diagnosis (p = 0.003) in the preeclampsia group, but there was no difference at 26 weeks. TIMP-1 levels were significantly reduced in the preeclampsia group at 26 weeks (p = 0.0002), but TIMP-2 levels were not quantifiable. CONCLUSION: At all three gestational time points an imbalance in the MMP-2:TIMP-1 ratio was found in patients who subsequently developed preeclampsia. We speculate that increased net MMP-2 activity may contribute to the endothelial dysfunction that is central to the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
- Matrix metalloproteinase