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Abstract

Venous ulcers are related to dysfunctions in extracellular matrix. Both matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) could play a role in the healing process in patients with chronic venous ulcers. We evaluated the role of MMP-9 and NGAL in the healing process in venous ulceration. We performed an open-label, parallel groups, single clinical center study. Patients with chronic venous leg ulcers represented the test group (Group I), whereas patients without chronic ulcers represented the control group (Group II). In Group I plasma and wound fluid samples were collected at the time of admission, at the time of the surgery, and at the follow-up, while ulcer tissues were taken at the time of the surgery. In Group II, plasma and wound fluid were collected at admission and at the time of the surgery, whereas skin tissues were collected at the time of the surgery. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test was used to evaluate the levels of MMP-9 and NGAL in plasma and wound fluid, whereas Western blot analysis was performed to estimate the expression of MMP-9 and NGAL in tissues. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests revealed significantly higher levels of MMP-9 and NGAL in both plasma and wound fluid of patients with ulcers compared to patients without ulcers (p < 0.01). Moreover, Western blot analysis documented an increased expression of MMP-9 and NGAL in biopsy tissue of patients with ulcers compared to patients without ulcers (p < 0.01). In conclusion MMP-9 and NGAL may correlate with the clinical course of venous ulcers.