• MT1-MMP;
  • MMP-2;
  • induced sputum;
  • bronchoalveolar lavage fluid;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • bronchiectasis.

The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of the MT1-MMP/MMP-2 cascade in induced sputum (IS) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from bronchial asthma (BA) and bronchiectasis (BE) patients and healthy controls. The molecular forms and cellular origins of MT1-MMP and MMP-2 were determined by Western immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Elevated levels of soluble activated and autocatalyzed MT1-MMP species as well as activated forms of MMP-2 in IS and BALF samples from BA and BE patients were evidenced. The activation degrees of soluble MT1-MMP and MMP-2 were significantly correlated in BA and BE IS and BALF. Only low levels of both these MMPs were observed in healthy control IS and BALF. The co-expression of MMP-2 with MT1-MMP was evidenced by double immunostaining in bronchial epithelial cells, submucosal glandular cells, smooth muscle cells and monocyte/macrophages. The MT1-MMP/MMP-2 cascade is present and active in human inflammatory lung disease fluid and tissue samples. This cascade seemingly reflects the active destructive phases of these chronic lung diseases.