Can Intestinal Fatty Acid Binding Protein (I-FABP) Be A Marker in the Diagnosis of Abdominal Pathology?
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) have been demonstrated to be involved in inflammatory conditions in the intestine. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the alterations of the MMP/TIMP balance might reflect the course of the inflammatory process in acute appendicitis and if the expression and localisation of MMPs and TIMP is variable in the various clinical manifestations of appendicitis. The study comprises 40 patients (26 men and 14 women) having emergency appendectomy and a control group constituting of 10 patients (5 men and 5 women) having a hemicolectomy for other reasons. MMP and TIMP expressions were assessed and compared in tissue specimens from phlegmonous (n = 15), gangrenous (n = 7), perforated appendicitis (n = 11) and controls with noninflamed appendices (n = 10) by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. Localisation of the enzymes was performed by immunohistochemistry. MMP-1 was significantly higher in gangrenous and perforated appendicitis compared with phlegmonous appendicitis and controls (p < 0.05) while MMP-2 was significantly lower in gangrenous appendicitis compared with phlegmonous appendicitis and controls. MMP-2 was also lower in perforated appendicitis when compared with controls (p < 0.01). Elevated expression of MMP-9 was demonstrated in all groups of appendicitis compared with the controls (p < 0.001). MMP-9 is the most abundantly expressed MMP of those investigated in inflamed appendix. We postulate that a local imbalance between MMP-9 and TIMP-1 may trigger a perforation. These results suggest that MMPs might be useful as biomarkers of appendices prone to perforation.