An association between arterial aneurysms and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) has been described previously. MMPs regulate extracellular structural proteins and tissue remodeling. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is involved in the regulation of MMP activity. The aim of this work was to study the relationship between the levels of MMPs and NGAL and arterial aneurysms. In a multicenter, open-label, parallel groups, prospective study, patients with aneurysmal disease were divided into 2 groups: Group I (with ruptured aneurysm) and group II (with nonruptured aneurysm). Healthy volunteer patients were also enrolled and represented the control group (group III). We enrolled 307 patients (107 in group I and 200 in group II) with arterial aneurysm: 49 popliteal, 31 common femoral, 2 superficial femoral, 29 common iliac artery, 3 common carotid, and 193 abdominal aorta. Finally, 11 healthy volunteer patients (9 males and 2 females; age range, 40-70 years; median 56) were enrolled in group III. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot analysis revealed greater levels of immunoreactive MMP-9 and NGAL in all patients with ruptured aneurysms, both central and peripheral aneurysms, and in the aneurismal vessels. These results provide potentially important insights to the understanding of the natural history of arterial aneurysms. MMPs and NGAL play a role in development of arterial aneurysms and may represent molecular markers for the prevention of aneurysmal rupture.
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