Background: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are elevated in the brain tissue of patients with dementia and may play a role in the pathophysiology of dementia. MMP-9 and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) are elevated in postmortem brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In a previous study we showed that circulating levels of MMP-9 are elevated in AD patients. The aim of the present study was to examine circulating levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in the plasma of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), AD, vascular dementia (VaD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), to determine, whether plasma profiles of MMPs and TIMPs differ in various types of dementia.
Methods: Gelatinolytic activity (MMP-2 and MMP-9) was measured in all plasma samples by zymography. Levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-1 as well as TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were measured by ELISA.
Results: We found constitutive expression of MMP-1, -2 and -9 as well as TIMP-1 and -2 in all the samples investigated. As shown previously, MMP-9 was significantly elevated in the plasma of AD patients (p = 0.004) as compared to controls and MCI patients. Plasma levels of TIMP-1 were significantly lower in VD samples as compared to all other groups. Levels of TIMP-2 were significantly lower in patients with FTD as compared to AD, VaD and MCI patients. There were no significant changes of MMP-1 and MMP-2 levels in the samples.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that circulating levels of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 and changes in the MMP/TIMP balance in plasma differ in various types of dementia.