Cerebrospinal fluid levels of MMP-2, 7, and 9 are elevated in association with human immunodeficiency virus dementia

Katherine Conant, Justin C. McArthur, Diane E. Griffin, Lucas Sjulson, Larry M. Wahl, David N. Irani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Pathological evidence suggests that alterations of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) may occur in association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dementia (HIVD). Increased BBB permeability could contribute to the development of dementia by facilitating the entry of activated and infected monocytes, as well as potentially toxic serum proteins, into the central nervous system. One mechanism by which BBB permeability may be altered is through increased activity of select matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). In the present study, we examined the possibility that MMPs that target critical BBB proteins, including laminin, entactin, and collagen type IV, are elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with HIVD. We also examined the possibility that such MMPs could be produced by brain-derived cells, and that MMP production by these cells might be increased by tumor necrosis factor-α, an inflammatory cytokine that is produced by HIV-infected monocytes/microglia and is elevated in HIVD. By using western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we observed that CSF levels of pro-MMP-2 and pro-MMP-7 were increased in association with HIVD. In addition, through the use of gelatin substrate zymography, a sensitive functional assay for MMP-2 and MMP- 9, we observed that MMP-2 or pro-MMP-9 activity was more frequently detectable in the CSF of individuals with HIV dementia (9/16) than in the CSF from either nondemented seropositive (2/11) or seronegative (0/11) controls. Although the presence of MMPs in the serum could contribute to elevated levels in the CSF, we also show that brain-derived cells release MMP-2, 7, and 9, and that such release is increased after their stimulation with tumor necrosis factor-α. Together, these results suggest that elevated CSF levels of select MMPs may reflect immune activation within the central nervous system. They also suggest that further studies may be warranted to determine whether these proteins may play a role in the development of symptomatic neurological disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-398
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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