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1.  Functional polymorphisms in matrix metalloproteinases -1, -3, -9 and -12 in relation to cervical artery dissection 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:40.
Background
Cervical artery dissection is a leading cause of cerebral ischemia in young adults. Morphological investigations have shown alterations in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of affected vessel walls. As matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) play a central role in the regulation of the ECM, an increased expression of these enzymes might lead to the endothelial damage in spontaneous cervical artery dissection (sCAD). Five different DNA polymorphisms in MMP-1, -3, -9 and -12 were tested for their frequency in patients with sCAD and compared with those of a control population.
Methods
Blood was sampled from 70 unrelated patients presenting consecutively in the department of neurology of the Aachen University Medical School with sCAD and from 87 control subjects living in the same area as the patients. The MMP polymorphisms were analyzed with hybridization probes using the LightCyclerâ„¢ (Roche Diagnostics), by sequencing using the ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer (Applied Biosystems) and with the GeneScan program on a ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer.
Results
No statistically significant differences in the allelic distribution were found between sCAD patients and the controls.
Conclusion
Alleles of these 5 functional polymorphisms of MMPs seem not to be associated with structural alterations in the blood vessel wall of sCAD patients. However, this does not exclude a pathogenetic role for MMPs in sCAD via secondary factors such as cytokines that are able to induce these enzymes in cervical blood vessel walls.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-40
PMCID: PMC2731047  PMID: 19664242
2.  NG2 and phosphacan are present in the astroglial scar after human traumatic spinal cord injury 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:32.
Background
A major class of axon growth-repulsive molecules associated with CNS scar tissue is the family of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs). Experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) has demonstrated rapid re-expression of CSPGs at and around the lesion site. The pharmacological digestion of CSPGs in such lesion models results in substantially enhanced axonal regeneration and a significant functional recovery. The potential therapeutic relevance of interfering with CSPG expression or function following experimental injuries seems clear, however, the spatio-temporal pattern of expression of individual members of the CSPG family following human spinal cord injury is only poorly defined. In the present correlative investigation, the expression pattern of CSPG family members NG2, neurocan, versican and phosphacan was studied in the human spinal cord.
Methods
An immunohistochemical investigation in post mortem samples of control and lesioned human spinal cords was performed. All patients with traumatic SCI had been clinically diagnosed as having "complete" injuries and presented lesions of the maceration type.
Results
In sections from control spinal cord, NG2 immunoreactivity was restricted to stellate-shaped cells corresponding to oligodendrocyte precursor cells. The distribution patterns of phosphacan, neurocan and versican in control human spinal cord parenchyma were similar, with a fine reticular pattern being observed in white matter (but also located in gray matter for phosphacan). Neurocan staining was also associated with blood vessel walls. Furthermore, phosphacan, neurocan and versican were present in the myelin sheaths of ventral and dorsal nerve roots axons. After human SCI, NG2 and phosphacan were both detected in the evolving astroglial scar. Neurocan and versican were detected exclusively in the lesion epicentre, being associated with infiltrating Schwann cells in the myelin sheaths of invading peripheral nerve fibres from lesioned dorsal roots.
Conclusion
NG2 and phosphacan were both present in the evolving astroglial scar and, therefore, might play an important role in the blockade of successful CNS regeneration. Neurocan and versican, however, were located at the lesion epicentre, associated with Schwann cell myelin on regenerating peripheral nerve fibres, a distribution that was unlikely to contribute to failed CNS axon regeneration. The present data points to the importance of such correlative investigations for demonstrating the clinical relevance of experimental data.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-32
PMCID: PMC2725028  PMID: 19604403
3.  Matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors in human traumatic spinal cord injury 
BMC Neurology  2007;7:17.
Background
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of extracellular endopeptidases that degrade the extracellular matrix and other extracellular proteins. Studies in experimental animals demonstrate that MMPs play a number of roles in the detrimental as well as in the beneficial events after spinal cord injury (SCI). In the present correlative investigation, the expression pattern of several MMPs and their inhibitors has been investigated in the human spinal cord.
Methods
An immunohistochemical investigation in post mortem samples of control and lesioned human spinal cords was performed. All patients with traumatic SCI had been clinically diagnosed as having "complete" injuries and presented lesions of the maceration type.
Results
In the unlesioned human spinal cord, MMP and TIMP immunoreactivity was scarce. After traumatic SCI, a lesion-induced bi-phasic pattern of raised MMP-1 levels could be found with an early up-regulation in macrophages within the lesion epicentre and a later induction in peri-lesional activated astrocytes. There was an early and brief induction of MMP-2 at the lesion core in macrophages. MMP-9 and -12 expression peaked at 24 days after injury and both molecules were mostly expressed in macrophages at the lesion epicentre. Whereas MMP-9 levels rose progressively from 1 week to 3 weeks, there was an isolated peak of MMP-12 expression at 24 days. The post-traumatic distribution of the MMP inhibitors TIMP-1, -2 and -3 was limited. Only occasional TIMP immuno-positive macrophages could be detected at short survival times. The only clear induction was detected for TIMP-3 at survival times of 8 months and 1 year in peri-lesional activated astrocytes.
Conclusion
The involvement of MMP-1, -2, -9 and -12 has been demonstrated in the post-traumatic events after human SCI. With an expression pattern corresponding largely to prior experimental studies, they were mainly expressed during the first weeks after injury and were most likely involved in the destructive inflammatory events of protein breakdown and phagocytosis carried out by infiltrating neutrophils and macrophages, as well as being involved in enhanced permeability of the blood spinal cord barrier. Similar to animal investigations, the strong induction of MMPs was not accompanied by an expression of their inhibitors, allowing these proteins to exert their effects in the lesioned spinal cord.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-7-17
PMCID: PMC1914362  PMID: 17594482

Results 1-3 (3)