A one-step sandwich enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3; stromelysin-1) was developed. The assay system used two simultaneous immunoreactions using a solid phase monoclonal antibody and a horseradish peroxidase-labeled monoclonal antibody (Fab'). The sensitivity of the assay system was 20 μ/l and linearity was obtained between 31 and 500 μg/l. The EIA system was capable of measuring both precursor and active forms of MMP-3 as well as the forms of MMP-3 complexed with tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases. MMP-3 levels as measured by this assay are significantly higher in the sera of patients with rheumatoid arthritis as compared to those of healthy subjects and patients with osteoarthritis. Immunoblot analyses showed that in the sera and synovial fluids of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, MMP-3 is present in the 59- and 57-kDa precursor forms.
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