Expression of matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in HTLV-I-associated myelopathy

Fujio Umehara, Yasunori Okada, Noboru Fujimoto, Mayumi Abe, Shuji Izumo, Mitsuhiro Osame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been reported to be involved in inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). However, little is known about the role of MMPs in the pathogenesis of HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM)/Tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP). To address this issue, we examined the tissue expression and localization of MMPs and their inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in the spinal cord lesions of HAM/TSP using immunohistochemistry. In addition, the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of MMPs and TIMPs of the patients with HAM/TSP were determined using sandwich enzyme immunoassays (SIA) and gelatin zymography. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that collagen IV and decorin immunoreactivity on the basement membrane of CNS parenchymal vessels was partially disrupted where inflammatory mononuclear cells infiltrated in active-chronic lesions of HAM/TSP. In these lesions, MMP-2 (gelatinase A) was immunostained mainly on the surface of foamy macrophages and lymphocytes, whereas MMP-9 (gelatinase B) expression was positive in the intravascular and perivascular mononuclear cells but not on foamy macrophages. In contrast, inactive chronic lesions of the spinal cords of the HAM/TSP contained fewer MMP-2-positive or MMP-9-positive mononuclear cells than active-chronic lesions. Many parenchymal Vessels had thickened vascular walls which showed increased immunoreactivity to decorin. SIA revealed that production levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in both blood and CSF were higher in the patients with HAM/TSP than those in non-inflammatory other neurological disease controls (ONDs). Using zymography, proMMP-9 was detected more frequently in the CSF of patients with HAM/TSP than those in ONDs. Taken together, our data indicate that MMP-2 and MMP-9 may play an important role in the blood-brain barrier breakdown and tissue remodeling in the CNS of HAM/TSP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-849
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Sept


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Decorin
  • HTLV-I
  • Matrix metalloproteinases
  • Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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