An team of researchers in China released study data in which they investigated the correlation between the serum and ascite levels of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), an important enzyme involved in tissue remodeling and wound healing in patients with endometriosis.
The study, “Correlation between matrix metalloproteinase-9 and endometriosis,” was published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology.
To investigate the correlation between serum and ascite levels of MMP-9 in endometriosis (EMS) patients, researchers recruited 100 EMS patients between January 2014 and January 2015.
These were the eligibility requirements for the study’s subjects:
- They had to have regular menstrual cycles;
- Subjects could not have been treated with hormonal therapies within three months of recruitment;
- Patients could not have other benign or malignant lesions in their ovaries or uterus;
- Patients could not have any severe liver or kidney dysfunction or autoimmune disease.
Subjects were ineligible for the study if they had:
- A history of irregular menstrual cycles;
- A positive pregnancy test or plan to become pregnant within the study timeline;
- A hyperplasia of the endometrium or inflammatory lesion of the uterus or cervix, or other complicated gynecologic diseases;
- A long-term history of taking hormonal medicines;
- Any malignant diseases in their ovary, oviduct or uterus.
After enrollment, the recruited patients then underwent laparoscopic surgery to confirm the diagnosis. Pre- and post-procedure fluid samples were collected as well as endometrial tissue samples. The samples underwent laboratory analysis using experimental procedures such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and gelatin zymography analysis to determine the contents of MMP-9.
The findings showed that after controlling for variables such as EMS patient age, endometrium site, lesion range, clinical stage and proliferative cycles, a significant correlation between MMP-9 and endometrium site, clinical stage, and proliferative cycle was present — whereas age and lesion range had no correlation with MMP-9.
“Elevated MMP-9 level may be related to the ectopic implantation of endometrium and plays a critical role in EMS progression. Therefore, the timely detection of MMP-9 level and possible interference measures may provide novel target for EMS treatment in clinics,” the authors wrote.
More studies need to be done to understand the role MMP-9 plays in EMS pathology, possibly leading to a therapeutic intervention targeting these important enzymes.