We aim to explore the associations between matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) MMP-2/MMP-9 gene polymorphism with ulinastatin (UTI) efficacy in treating severe acute pancreatitis (SAP). A total of 276 SAP patients were assigned into the control (n=135) and observation (n=141) groups. PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) was used for genotype and allele frequency distribution. Relevance of MMP-2/MMP-9 genotypes with UTI efficacy was analyzed. The observation group showed lowered duration in symptoms (abdominal distension, abdominal pain, tenderness, and rebound tenderness) than the control group. Laboratory analysis (serum calcium, white blood cells, serum amylase, urine amylase, APACHE-II, and Balthazar CTIS scores) were decreased, while serum albumin levels increased after 7th day of therapy. The total effective rate of UTI for patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype was higher than those with C/T and T/T genotypes after the 7th day of therapy, which was lower in patients with MMP-9 C-1562T C/C and C/T genotypes than those with T/T genotype. The duration for symptoms in patients with MMP-9 C-1562T T/T genotype was shorter than those with C/C and C/T genotypes, which was less in patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype than those with C/T and T/T genotypes. The improvement values of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS scores for patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype were higher than those with C/T and T/T genotypes, which for patients with MMP-9 C-1562T C/C and C/T genotypes were lower than those with T/T genotype. These results demonstrated that MMP-2/MMP-9 gene polymorphism was associated with UTI efficacy for SAP.

Introduction

Acute pancreatitis (AP) is severe disease involving pancreatic inflammation that leads to the activation and release of inflammatory cytokines resulting in systemic inflammation [1]. AP is clinically distinguished into two types based on whether the predominant response to cell injury is inflammation (mild AP) or necrosis (severe AP (SAP)). In mild AP, the damage is limited to inflammation and edema of the pancreas, whereas in SAP, necrosis of the pancreas and nearby organs is discovered.

SAP is a clinically common acute abdominal disease characterized by its rapid progression and complications. Despite the current treatment methods, patients suffering from SAP still have a 10–20% mortality due to severe pancreatic and extrapancreatic necrosis [2]. The pathogenesis of SAP starts with abnormal activation of the enzymes in the pancreas caused by zymogens, namely trypsinogen. When trypsinogen is activated by lysosomal enzymes, it can go on to activate subsequent enzymes, leading to inflammation, edema, vascular and subsequently cell death. In SAP, a proinflammatory response in the early phase leads to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and it results in early multisystem (respiratory, renal, cardiovascular, and hepatic) organ failure in the later phases. A transition from a proinflammatory response to an anti-inflammatory response occurs later during which patients are at the risk of developing secondary infection caused by necrosis, leading to sepsis and late multiple organ dysfunction [3,4]. The prevention of SAP leading to the multiple organ failure is on top priority during SAP treatment, followed by comprehensive treatment, and intensive care [5]. In recent years, the inhibition of trypsin activation and antibiotics have been used as the main form of medical treatment for treating patients diagnosed with SAP, one of which is called ulinastatin (UTI) [6].

UTI is a glycoprotein that functions as a trypsin inhibitor. It can be extracted from human urine or synthetically used [7]. Not only can UTI effectively inhibit the proteolytic enzymes of elastase, plasmin, and trypsin, but it can also inhibit the hydrolases of amylase and lipase which can attenuate systemic inflammatory response and improve pancreatitis [8]. A current study has shown that UTI can inhibit the excessive release of inflammatory mediators [9]. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a large family of calcium-dependent zinc containing endopeptidases [10]. They are produced by a variety of stromal cells and inflammatory cells, and function to degrade extracellular matrix proteins as well as activating a variety of bioactive molecules [11]. Published studies reported that cerulein-altered pancreatic MMP (MMP-1, MMP-2, and MMP-9) levels in the beginning phase of inflammation induce pancreatitis, and MMPs may have a predictive value in assessment of histological severity [12]. It also has been demonstrated that serum MMP-9 level can be considered as a valuable marker for the assessment of severity of SAP [13]. MMP-2 and MMP-9 are classified as the gelatinases and play important roles in the degradation and regeneration of extracellular matrix mainly through secretion into extracellular matrix and participating in matrix degradation upon activation [14].

In recent years, several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have played a key role in detecting genetic variations in many individuals and how they may provide prognostic markers to diseases in terms of their susceptibilities and prognosis [15,16]. An SNP is a variation that occurs at specific regions in the genome, whereby each variation is present to a certain degree within a population [17]. Recently, SNPs of the MMP-2 and MMP-9 genes have been verified and MMP-2 promoter polymorphisms −1306C/T and −735C/T, and MMP-9 promoter polymorphism −1562C/T have been proved to be functional [18]. It was also believed that the −1306C and −735C alleles in MMP-2 are correlated with a greater risk of cancer, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, gastric cancer, and colorectal cancer, via promotion of angiogenesis by degradation of the ECM and promoting cell migration and motility [1922]. The C−1562T gene in MMP-9 has also been confirmed to be able to regulate gene expression [23,24]. Due to the extent of how much MMPs can lead to cancers, a lot of attention has been directed away from other diseases, such as pancreatitis. As such, the influence of MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism on clinical outcomes of UTI in treating SAP are seldom reported. Thereby, the study aims to explore the associations of MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism with the efficacy of UTI in treating SAP with the expectation to lay a theoretical foundation for the treatment of SAP.

Materials and methods

Ethical statement

The present study was performed with the approval of Clinical Ethical Committee in Yishui Central Hospital of Linyi. All procedures were conducted strictly in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The present study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Yishui Central Hospital of Linyi. All participating patients in this investigation agreed to and signed informed consents.

Study subjects

A total of 276 SAP patients (163 males and 113 females) hospitalized in Yishui Central Hospital of Linyi were recruited between January 2011 and December 2016. Their ages ranged from 20 to 66 years and the mean age was 36.84 ± 7.63 years. All patients conformed to the diagnostic criteria issued by Chinese Medical Association Pancreatic Surgery Group [25]. Confirmed by B-ultrasound or computed tomography (CT), the criteria of SAP were as follows: retroperitoneal organ involvement or failure, local complications, presentation with more than three items including: a white blood cell (WBC) count of more than 15 × 109/l, lactic acid intoxication higher than 600 U/l, blood glucose higher than 180 mg/dl, albumin <32 g/l, urea nitrogen higher than 16.065 mmol/l; PaO2 60 mmHg, serum calcium lower than 2 mg/l, and APACHE-II score more than 8 points [26]. The exclusion criteria were as follows: patients prone to allergies or with a history of known drug allergies; pregnant or lactating women; those who have previously received somatostatin, berengarius, and calcitonin therapy.

SNP screening

The study was conducted based on the genomic data of Chinese Han population in HapMap. The gene locus screening was determined according to the three methods including literature retrieval, Tag-SNP selection, and observation of functional variation locus of MMP-2 and MMP-9 genes with FAST SNP. After gene locus screening, C-1306T and C-735T of MMP-2 gene and C-1562T of MMP-9 gene were selected for this investigation.

Gene polymorphism detection

Venous blood (5 ml) was collected from each subject and transferred into a tube containing sodium citrate for anticoagulation and stored at 4°C. DNA extraction from WBC of peripheral blood was performed within 7 days after blood collection with a DNA extraction kit (Tiangen Biotech Co. Ltd., Beijing, China). PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique was performed on the polymorphisms of C-1306T, C-735T, and C-1562T. PCR primers were designed by Premier 5.0 software and the sequences were synthesized by Sangon Biotech (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. The primer sequences and lengths are shown in Table 1. PCR reaction system was performed on all the three investigating genotypes (20 μl in total for each genotype); each mixture consisting of 100 ng of template DNA, 2.4 μl of 10× PCR buffer containing 15 nmol/l MgCl2, 2 μl dye, 1.0 U Taq-DNA polymerase, 200 μmol/l dNTPs, and 250 nmol/l forward and reverse primers. The reaction conditions for all the three methods were carried out differently. Conditions for C-1306T included: predenaturation at 94°C for 5 min, denaturation at 94°C for 30 s, annealing at 58°C for 45 s and elongation at 72°C for 45 s (30 cycles), and a final elongation at 72°C for 10 min. Finally, a 193-bp sequence was obtained as the amplified product of PCR. A certain amount of product was taken out and incubated with restriction endonuclease XspI at 37°C overnight. A 3% agarose gel electrophoresis was carried out to isolate the product from enzymatic digestion and kept for later use. The reaction conditions for the C-735T gene were as follows: predenaturation at 95°C for 5 min, denaturation at 95°C for 30 s, annealing at 61°C for 30 s, elongation at 72°C for 30 s (30 cycles), and a final elongation at 72°C for 10 min. The PCR product consisting of 391 bp was incubated overnight with restriction endonuclease HinfI at 37°C and was analyzed after 3% agarose gel electrophoresis. The reaction conditions for the last genotype, C-1562T were as follows: predenaturation at 95°C for 5 min, denaturation at 95°C for 30 s, annealing at 62°C for 30 s and elongation at 72°C for 30 s (35 cycles), followed by a final elongation at 72°C for 10 min. The final amplified product was 435 bp, which was incubated in water at a constant temperature overnight with restriction endonuclease SphI. It was analyzed after 1.8% agarose gel electrophoresis.

Table 1
Primer sequences for gene polymorphism of MMP-2 and MMP-9
SNPs Primer sequences PCR length 
MMP-2   
C-1306T F: 5′-CTTCCTAGGCTGGTCCTTACTGA-3′ 193 bp 
 R: 5′-CTGAGACCTGAAGACCTAAAGAGCT-3′  
C-735T F: 5′-GGATTCTTGGCTTGGCGCAGGA-3′ 391 bp 
 R: 5′-GGGGGCTGGGTAAAATGAGGCTG-3′  
MMP-9 F: 5′-GCCTGGCACATAGTAGGCCC-3′ 435 bp 
C-1562T R: 5′-CTTCCTAGCCAGCCGGCATC-3′  
SNPs Primer sequences PCR length 
MMP-2   
C-1306T F: 5′-CTTCCTAGGCTGGTCCTTACTGA-3′ 193 bp 
 R: 5′-CTGAGACCTGAAGACCTAAAGAGCT-3′  
C-735T F: 5′-GGATTCTTGGCTTGGCGCAGGA-3′ 391 bp 
 R: 5′-GGGGGCTGGGTAAAATGAGGCTG-3′  
MMP-9 F: 5′-GCCTGGCACATAGTAGGCCC-3′ 435 bp 
C-1562T R: 5′-CTTCCTAGCCAGCCGGCATC-3′  

Abbreviations: F, forward; R, reverse.

Therapy regimens and outcome measures

Genotyped SAP patients were assigned into the control group (n=135) and the observation group (n=141). Patients in the control group were treated with conventional therapy including: appropriate central venous fluid exchange, pain control, proton pump inhibitors, nasogastric tube, antibiotics, hemodynamic monitoring for parenteral or enteral nutrition support, and providing support for breathing and kidney. Patients diagnosed with severe biliary pancreatitis received endoscopic therapy (containing endoscopic retrograde cholangiography, endoscopic sphincterotomy, endoscopic lithotripsy, endoscopic retrograde biliary drainage, or extraction balloon for removing the stones) [27]. Patients in the observation group received UTI therapy based on the conventional therapy. The UTI (20080722, Guangdong Techpool Biochemical Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Guangzhou, China) therapeutical procedure was applied to SAP patients according to the following procedure: a continuous intravenous infusion with a dose of 200000 U UTI + 250 ml of 5% glucose solution, twice a day for 7 days. The outcome measures were measured by the duration of time that the patients suffered from symptoms of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness. Another outcome was the duration it took for the other lab results return to normal levels such as WBC number (normal: 7.3 × 109–27.5 × 109), serum amylase (normal: 20–100 U/l), urine amylase (normal: 0–460 U/l), serum calcium (normal: ≥2.12 mmol/l), and albumin (normal: ≥32 g/l), as well as the APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS scores before and after therapy [28]. The APACHE-II scoring system consisted of 12 items of total physiological score, 1 item of age score and 5 items of chronic disease score [29]. On the other hand, the Balthazar scoring system used and had A–E grading scale which scored 0–4 points. The necrosis range: none, <33%, 33–50%, and >50%, which was 0, 2, 4, and 6 points respectively. The above two scores when added together were CTIS.

Evaluation criteria of the curative effect of UTI therapy

The main symptoms, signs (abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness), and laboratory examinations (WBC, urine amylase, serum calcium, and albumin) of patients before therapy and at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th day after therapy were recorded. The evaluation criteria were as following: the disappearance of any kind of abdominal pain and laboratory indexes returned to normal level within 3–5 days after therapy; the marked effectiveness evaluated by the decreased duration of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness as well as an improvement in the laboratory indexes within the 7th day of therapy; the effectiveness referred to as the time of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness was reduced and laboratory indexes were improved within the 10-day therapy; the ineffectiveness was referred to as the main symptoms and signs of patients were not improved, laboratory examinations did not return to normal after 10th day of therapy and some patients even became worse or died [30]. The total effective rate = effective rate + markedly effective rate.

Statistical analysis

SPSS 21.0 statistical software was used to analyze all the data. Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium was used to assess the group representativeness of genotype distribution. Comparison and analysis of allele and genotype frequencies was performed by χ2 test. Count data were presented as a percentage or ratio and the statistical analysis was performed by a chi-square test. Measurement data were expressed as mean ± S.D. Comparisons between groups were performed with variance analysis. Comparisons of two groups were performed using ttest. P<0.05 was accepted as indicative of significant differences.

Results

Baseline characteristics of patients between the control group and the observation group

Baseline characteristics of patients from the control and the observation groups are shown in Table 2. There were no notable differences in their gender, age, APACHE-II score, etiology of pancreatitis, CT severity index (CTSI) score, and VAS score between the control and the observation groups (all P>0.05).

Table 2
Baseline characteristics of patients between the control group and the observation group
Groups Control group (n=135) Observation group (n=141) P-value 
Gender (M/F) 79/56 84/57 0.859 
Age (years) 37.46 ± 8.51 36.26 ± 6.59 0.190 
APACHE II: median (IQR) 15 (8–25) 14 (2–26) 0.265 
Etiology of pancreatitis: n (%)   0.210 
 Alcohol 93 (68.9%) 107 (75.9%)  
 Biliary 17 (12.6%) 10 (7.1%)  
 Idiopathic 12 (8.9%) 7 (5.0%)  
 Viral 13 (9.6%) 17 (12.1%)  
CTSI: n   0.117 
 0–3, 67 (49.6%) 84 (59.6%)  
 4–6, 40 (29.6%) 27 (19.1%)  
 7–10, 28 (20.7%) 30 (21.3%)  
 Incomplete, due to renal insufficiency 16 (11.9%) 3 (2.1%) 0.176 
VAS: median (range) 8 (1–10) 7 (1–10) 0.134 
Groups Control group (n=135) Observation group (n=141) P-value 
Gender (M/F) 79/56 84/57 0.859 
Age (years) 37.46 ± 8.51 36.26 ± 6.59 0.190 
APACHE II: median (IQR) 15 (8–25) 14 (2–26) 0.265 
Etiology of pancreatitis: n (%)   0.210 
 Alcohol 93 (68.9%) 107 (75.9%)  
 Biliary 17 (12.6%) 10 (7.1%)  
 Idiopathic 12 (8.9%) 7 (5.0%)  
 Viral 13 (9.6%) 17 (12.1%)  
CTSI: n   0.117 
 0–3, 67 (49.6%) 84 (59.6%)  
 4–6, 40 (29.6%) 27 (19.1%)  
 7–10, 28 (20.7%) 30 (21.3%)  
 Incomplete, due to renal insufficiency 16 (11.9%) 3 (2.1%) 0.176 
VAS: median (range) 8 (1–10) 7 (1–10) 0.134 

Abbreviations: CTSI, CT severity index; M/F, male/female; VAS, visual analog score.

Genotypes of MMP-2 and MMP-9

Results of enzymatic digestion demonstrated that the C allele in the C-1306T genotype had one XspI restriction site whereas the T allele had two restriction sites. C/C genotype products were 188 and 5 bp; T/T genotype products were 162, 26, and 5 bp; and C/T genotype products were 188, 162, 26, and 5 bp (Figure 1A). The C-735T mutation was identified by the HinfI restriction site thereby producing two fragments of 338 and 53 bp in the T/T genotype. The C/T heterozygous genotype produced three fragments of 391, 338, and 53 bp and C/C genotype produced only one fragment of 391 bp (Figure 1B). The C-1562T PCR products were digested by restriction endonuclease SphI. After a 20 g/l agarose gel electrophoresis, the digestion products resulted in a CC homozygous genotype of 435 bp, a CT heterozygous genotype of 435, 247, and 188 bp and a TT homozygous genotype of 247 and 188 bp (Figure 1C).

Genotypes of MMP-2 and MMP-9 by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay
Figure 1
Genotypes of MMP-2 and MMP-9 by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay

(A) SNP genotypes of MMP-2 C-1306T with XspΙ digestion; (B) SNP genotypes of MMP-2 C-735T with HinfΙ digestion; (C) SNP genotypes of MMP-9 C-1562T with SphΙ digestion.

Figure 1
Genotypes of MMP-2 and MMP-9 by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay

(A) SNP genotypes of MMP-2 C-1306T with XspΙ digestion; (B) SNP genotypes of MMP-2 C-735T with HinfΙ digestion; (C) SNP genotypes of MMP-9 C-1562T with SphΙ digestion.

Genotype and allele distribution at different locus of MMP-2 and MMP-9

Amongst the 276 cases of SAP patients, 206 cases belonged to the C-1306T C/C genotype, 45 cases belonged to the C/T genotype, and 25 cases were of the T/T genotype with a frequency of 74.64, 16.30, and 9.06% respectively. The frequency of C-allele occurrence was 82.79% and T allele was 17.21%. There were 171 cases (61.96%) of C-735 C/C genotype, 89 cases (32.25%) of C/T genotype, and 16 cases (5.80%) of T/T genotype. The frequency of C-allele occurrence in the patients was 78.08% and T allele was 21.92%. Finally, the C-1562T C/C genotype had 214 cases (77.54%), C/T genotype had 35 cases (12.68%), and T/T genotype had 27 cases (9.78%). The frequency of C-allele occurrence was 83.88% and T allele was 16.12%. Hardy–Weinberg showed that all genotypes and allele frequency had group representativeness in genetic equilibrium.

Clinical indicators before and after therapy

The detailed information of SAP patients in each group was recorded and preserved. Results demonstrated that UTI therapy improved the condition of all the patients after the 3rd day of therapy. No significant differences were observed between the control and the observation groups before and after the 3rd day of therapy. After the 7th day of therapy of the duration of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness were all reduced, whereas albumin levels were found to be markedly elevated (P<0.05). WBC count, serum amylase, urine amylase, and serum calcium were all significantly decreased (all P<0.05) in the observation groups as well as the scores of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS compared with the control group (both P<0.05) (Table 3).

Table 3
Outcome measures of SAP patients in the observation and the control groups before and after therapy
Outcome measures Control group (n=135) Observation group (n=141) 
 Before therapy Third day after therapy Seventh day after therapy Before therapy Third day after therapy Seventh day after therapy 
Abdominal distention (h) 4.89 ± 1.15 3.98 ± 1.12* 3.42 ± 1.03* 4.80 ± 1.15 3.93 ± 1.03* 2.31 ± 0.91* 
Abdominal pain (h) 5.67 ± 2.16 4.81 ± 1.43* 4.27 ± 1.71* 5.63 ± 2.01 4.75 ± 1.69* 3.70 ± 1.34* 
Tenderness and rebound tenderness (h) 5.81 ± 2.36 4.62 ± 1.22* 4.39 ± 1.40* 5.87 ± 2.17 4.60 ± 1.38* 3.29 ± 1.40* 
Serum calcium (mmol/l) 2.28 ± 0.51 1.89 ± 0.62* 1.85 ± 0.56* 2.19 ± 0.68 1.92 ± 0.55* 1.40 ± 0.39* 
White blood cell (× 109/l) 15.34 ± 4.64 10.13 ± 0.54* 9.58 ± 0.67* 15.42 ± 4.90 10.07 ± 0.61* 5.70 ± 0.54* 
Albumin (g.l−11.98 ± 0.62 2.42 ± 0.90* 2.55 ± 0.79* 1.86 ± 0.55 2.44 ± 0.73* 3.83 ± 0.65* 
Urinary amylase (U/l) 4314.33 ± 221.07 2631.26 ± 137.30* 2419.26 ± 167.41* 4283.39 ± 220.31 2612.73 ± 152.76* 1348.72 ± 88.18* 
Serum amylase (U/l) 1200.17 ± 126.28 687.38 ± 73.24* 624.38 ± 88.54* 1193.73 ± 135.50 672.91 ± 79.67* 509.75 ± 41.23* 
APACHE-II (point) 15.07 ± 4.76 11.23 ± 3.64* 10.13 ± 3.77* 14.35 ± 5.86 11.08 ± 3.31* 8.92 ± 5.69* 
Balthazar CTIS (point) 5.43 ± 1.14 4.67 ± 1.72* 4.52 ± 1.81* 5.34 ± 1.05 4.60 ± 1.83* 3.79 ± 1.92* 
Outcome measures Control group (n=135) Observation group (n=141) 
 Before therapy Third day after therapy Seventh day after therapy Before therapy Third day after therapy Seventh day after therapy 
Abdominal distention (h) 4.89 ± 1.15 3.98 ± 1.12* 3.42 ± 1.03* 4.80 ± 1.15 3.93 ± 1.03* 2.31 ± 0.91* 
Abdominal pain (h) 5.67 ± 2.16 4.81 ± 1.43* 4.27 ± 1.71* 5.63 ± 2.01 4.75 ± 1.69* 3.70 ± 1.34* 
Tenderness and rebound tenderness (h) 5.81 ± 2.36 4.62 ± 1.22* 4.39 ± 1.40* 5.87 ± 2.17 4.60 ± 1.38* 3.29 ± 1.40* 
Serum calcium (mmol/l) 2.28 ± 0.51 1.89 ± 0.62* 1.85 ± 0.56* 2.19 ± 0.68 1.92 ± 0.55* 1.40 ± 0.39* 
White blood cell (× 109/l) 15.34 ± 4.64 10.13 ± 0.54* 9.58 ± 0.67* 15.42 ± 4.90 10.07 ± 0.61* 5.70 ± 0.54* 
Albumin (g.l−11.98 ± 0.62 2.42 ± 0.90* 2.55 ± 0.79* 1.86 ± 0.55 2.44 ± 0.73* 3.83 ± 0.65* 
Urinary amylase (U/l) 4314.33 ± 221.07 2631.26 ± 137.30* 2419.26 ± 167.41* 4283.39 ± 220.31 2612.73 ± 152.76* 1348.72 ± 88.18* 
Serum amylase (U/l) 1200.17 ± 126.28 687.38 ± 73.24* 624.38 ± 88.54* 1193.73 ± 135.50 672.91 ± 79.67* 509.75 ± 41.23* 
APACHE-II (point) 15.07 ± 4.76 11.23 ± 3.64* 10.13 ± 3.77* 14.35 ± 5.86 11.08 ± 3.31* 8.92 ± 5.69* 
Balthazar CTIS (point) 5.43 ± 1.14 4.67 ± 1.72* 4.52 ± 1.81* 5.34 ± 1.05 4.60 ± 1.83* 3.79 ± 1.92* 

*P<0.05, compared with the group before therapy; P<0.05, compared with the control group at the same point.

Efficacy in the treatment of SAP patients with different genotypes after the 7th day of therapy

Amongst the patients with C-1306T C/C genotype, 111 cases fully recovered whereas 87 showed great signs of improvements in their condition. The total effective rate was calculated to be 81.55%. This effective rate was significantly higher than those of patients with the heterogeneous C/T genotype and T/T genotype (P<0.05). The effective rate of patients with C/C and C/T genotypes of MMP-9 C-1562T were 68.22 and 71.42% respectively, whereas 100.00% effective rate was calculated in patients with the T/T genotype (all P<0.05). There were no significant differences in the efficacies amongst SAP patients with different genotypes of C-735T (P>0.05) (Table 4).

Table 4
Efficacy in the treatment of SAP patients with different genotypes after 7th day of therapy
Genotypes Effective group (n=198) Ineffective group (n=78) Total effective rate (%) 
 Recovery (n=111) Markedly effectiveness (n=87)   
MMP-2 C-1306T     
C/C 93 (45.15) 75 (36.41) 38 (18.44) 168 (81.56) 
C/T 12 (26.67) 8 (17.78) 25 (55.55) 20 (44.45)* 
T/T 6 (24.00) 4 (16.00) 15 (60.00) 10 (40.00)* 
MMP-2 C-735T     
C/C 77 (45.03) 50 (29.24) 44 (25.73) 127 (74.27) 
C/T 29 (32.58) 32 (35.96) 28 (31.46) 61 (68.54) 
T/T 5 (31.25) 5 (31.25) 6 (37.50) 10 (62.50) 
MMP-9 C-1562T     
C/C 78 (36.45) 68 (31.78) 68 (31.78) 146 (68.22) 
C/T 15 (42.86) 10 (28.57) 10 (28.5) 25 (71.43) 
T/T 18 (66.67) 9 (33.33) 0 (0.00) 29 (100.00) 
Genotypes Effective group (n=198) Ineffective group (n=78) Total effective rate (%) 
 Recovery (n=111) Markedly effectiveness (n=87)   
MMP-2 C-1306T     
C/C 93 (45.15) 75 (36.41) 38 (18.44) 168 (81.56) 
C/T 12 (26.67) 8 (17.78) 25 (55.55) 20 (44.45)* 
T/T 6 (24.00) 4 (16.00) 15 (60.00) 10 (40.00)* 
MMP-2 C-735T     
C/C 77 (45.03) 50 (29.24) 44 (25.73) 127 (74.27) 
C/T 29 (32.58) 32 (35.96) 28 (31.46) 61 (68.54) 
T/T 5 (31.25) 5 (31.25) 6 (37.50) 10 (62.50) 
MMP-9 C-1562T     
C/C 78 (36.45) 68 (31.78) 68 (31.78) 146 (68.22) 
C/T 15 (42.86) 10 (28.57) 10 (28.5) 25 (71.43) 
T/T 18 (66.67) 9 (33.33) 0 (0.00) 29 (100.00) 

*P<0.05, compared with C/C; P<0.05, compared with T/T.

Outcome measures of SAP patients before and after the 7th day of therapy

After the 7th day of UTI therapy, the duration of abdominal pain, abdominal distension, tenderness, and rebound tenderness for SAP patients with MMP-2 gene C-1306T C/C genotype was obviously less than those in patients with C/T and T/T genotypes (both P<0.05). The duration of the symptoms in patients with MMP-9 gene C-1562T T/T genotype was 1.56 ± 0.85, 2.44 ± 1.74, and 1.82 ± 1.19, respectively, which was significantly lower than that in patients with C/C and C/T genotypes (all P<0.05). The duration of symptoms for patients with different genotypes of C-735T had no significant differences (all P>0.05) (Table 5).

Table 5
Time of abdominal distention, abdominal pain, tenderness, and rebound tenderness of SAP patients with different genotypes after 7th day of therapy
Genotypes Abdominal distention (h) Abdominal pain (h) Tenderness and rebound tenderness (h) 
MMP-2 C-1306T    
C/C 2.09 ± 0.77 3.48 ± 1.32 3.09 ± 1.41 
C/T 2.88 ± 0.96* 4.27 ± 1.27* 3.77 ± 1.30* 
T/T 3.06 ± 1.06* 4.52 ± 1.09* 4.08 ± 1.00* 
MMP-2 C-735T    
C/C 2.27 ± 0.81 3.55 ± 1.32 3.19 ± 1.38 
C/T 2.36 ± 1.13 4.00 ± 1.40 3.46 ± 1.38 
T/T 2.70 ± 0.62 4.04 ± 1.05 3.83 ± 1.64 
MMP-9 C-1562T    
C/C 2.39 ± 0.88 3.85 ± 1.21 3.45 ± 1.29 
C/T 2.37 ± 0.94 3.72 ± 1.43 3.43 ± 1.67 
T/T 1.56 ± 0.85 2.44 ± 1.74 1.82 ± 1.19 
Genotypes Abdominal distention (h) Abdominal pain (h) Tenderness and rebound tenderness (h) 
MMP-2 C-1306T    
C/C 2.09 ± 0.77 3.48 ± 1.32 3.09 ± 1.41 
C/T 2.88 ± 0.96* 4.27 ± 1.27* 3.77 ± 1.30* 
T/T 3.06 ± 1.06* 4.52 ± 1.09* 4.08 ± 1.00* 
MMP-2 C-735T    
C/C 2.27 ± 0.81 3.55 ± 1.32 3.19 ± 1.38 
C/T 2.36 ± 1.13 4.00 ± 1.40 3.46 ± 1.38 
T/T 2.70 ± 0.62 4.04 ± 1.05 3.83 ± 1.64 
MMP-9 C-1562T    
C/C 2.39 ± 0.88 3.85 ± 1.21 3.45 ± 1.29 
C/T 2.37 ± 0.94 3.72 ± 1.43 3.43 ± 1.67 
T/T 1.56 ± 0.85 2.44 ± 1.74 1.82 ± 1.19 

*P<0.05, compared with C/C; P<0.05, compared with T/T.

Normal serum and urine amylase levels of SAP patients with different genotypes after the 7th day of therapy

The proportion in the improvement of laboratory examinations that returned to normal levels in SAP patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype was obviously higher than those in patients with C/T genotype and T/T genotype (P<0.05). The proportion for SAP patients with C/C, C/T, and T/T genotypes of MMP-2 C-735T had no statistical differences (P>0.05). The proportion of blood amylase, urine amylase, albumin, WBC, and serum calcium returning to normal levels in patients with MMP-9 C-1562T T/T genotype was 100.00, 100.00, 92.31, 100.00, and 100.00% respectively, which was obviously higher than those in patients with C/C genotype and C/T genotype (all P<0.05) (Table 6).

Table 6
Normal serum and urine amylase levels of SAP patients with different genotypes after 7th day of therapy
Outcome measures MMP-2 C-1306T MMP-2 C-735T MMP-9 C-1562T 
 C/C (n=105) C/T (n=24) T/T (n=13) C/C (n=94) C/T (n=42) T/T (n=6) C/C (n=114) C/T (n=15) T/T (n=13) 
Serum amylase 73 (69.52) 7 (29.17)* 3 (23.08)* 57 (60.64) 23 (54.76) 3 (50.00) 62 (54.39) 8 (53.33) 13 (100.00) 
Urinary amylase 74 (70.48) 8 (33.33)* 4 (30.77)* 55 (58.51) 26 (61.90) 5 (83.33) 64 (56.14) 9 (60.00) 13 (100.00) 
Albumin 78 (74.29) 6 (25.00)* 2 (15.38)* 59 (62.77) 25 (59.52) 2 (33.33) 65 (57.02) 9 (60.00) 12 (92.31) 
WBC 71 (67.62) 7 (29.17)* 3 (23.08)* 58 (61.7) 21 (50.00) 2 (33.33) 60 (52.63) 8 (53.33) 13 (100.00) 
Serum calcium 74 (70.48) 8 (33.33)* 3(23.08)* 57 (60.64) 26 (61.90) 2(33.33) 63 (55.26) 9 (60.00) 13 (100.00) 
Outcome measures MMP-2 C-1306T MMP-2 C-735T MMP-9 C-1562T 
 C/C (n=105) C/T (n=24) T/T (n=13) C/C (n=94) C/T (n=42) T/T (n=6) C/C (n=114) C/T (n=15) T/T (n=13) 
Serum amylase 73 (69.52) 7 (29.17)* 3 (23.08)* 57 (60.64) 23 (54.76) 3 (50.00) 62 (54.39) 8 (53.33) 13 (100.00) 
Urinary amylase 74 (70.48) 8 (33.33)* 4 (30.77)* 55 (58.51) 26 (61.90) 5 (83.33) 64 (56.14) 9 (60.00) 13 (100.00) 
Albumin 78 (74.29) 6 (25.00)* 2 (15.38)* 59 (62.77) 25 (59.52) 2 (33.33) 65 (57.02) 9 (60.00) 12 (92.31) 
WBC 71 (67.62) 7 (29.17)* 3 (23.08)* 58 (61.7) 21 (50.00) 2 (33.33) 60 (52.63) 8 (53.33) 13 (100.00) 
Serum calcium 74 (70.48) 8 (33.33)* 3(23.08)* 57 (60.64) 26 (61.90) 2(33.33) 63 (55.26) 9 (60.00) 13 (100.00) 

*P< 0.05, compared with C/C; P<0.05, compared with T/T.

Improvement between APACHE-II score and Balthazar CTIS score of SAP patients with different genotypes after the 7th day of therapy

The improvement values of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS scores for SAP patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype (6.24 ± 5.21, 1.86 ± 1.68) were significantly higher than those in patients with C/T genotype (3.79 ± 5.85, 0.67 ± 1.88) and T/T genotype (1.62 ± 2.93, 0.54 ± 2.26) (all P<0.05). The improvement values of APACHE-II for patients with C/C, C/T, and T/T genotypes of MMP-2 C-735T were 5.67 ± 5.82, 5.00 ± 4.49, and 4.00 ± 2.61, respectively and of Balthazar CTIS were 1.70 ± 1.86, 1.24 ± 1.81, and 1.00 ± 1.67, respectively. The values of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS scores amongst the three genotypes showed no statistical differences (all P>0.05). The values of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS scores for SAP patients with MMP-9 C-1562T C/C (4.90 ± 4.97, 1.38 ± 1.70) genotype and C/T (5.07 ± 5.91, 1.40 ± 2.47) were significantly lower than those in patients with T/T genotype (10.15 ± 6.01, 3.08 ± 1.66) (all P<0.05) (Table 7).

Table 7
Improvement between APACHE-II score and Balthazar CTIS score of SAP patients with different genotypes after 7th day of therapy
Genotypes APACHE-II score Improvement value Balthazar CTIS score Improvement value 
 0 day 7 days  0 day 7 days  
MMP-2 C-1306T       
C/C 13.93 ± 5.60 7.70 ± 4.48 6.24 ± 5.21 5.29 ± 1.04 3.43 ±1.62 1.86 ± 1.68 
C/T 15.33 ± 6.00 11.54 ± 7.13 3.79 ± 5.85* 5.38 ± 1.01 4.71 ± 1.94 0.67 ± 1.88* 
T/T 15.77 ± 7.38 14.15 ± 7.09 1.62 ± 2.93* 5.62 ± 1.33 5.08 ± 2.93 0.54 ± 2.26* 
MMP-2 C-735T       
C/C 14.12 ± 5.92 8.45 ± 5.38 5.67 ± 5.82 5.37 ± 1.15 3.67 ± 1.84 1.70 ± 1.86 
C/T 14.45 ± 5.80 9.45 ± 6.00 5.00 ± 4.49 5.26 ± 0.89 4.02 ± 2.07 1.24 ± 1.81 
T/T 17.00 ± 4.94 13.00 ± 6.93 4.00 ± 2.61 5.17 ± 0.75 4.17 ± 2.14 1.00 ± 1.67 
MMP-9 C-1562T       
C/C 14.44 ± 5.85 9.54 ± 5.53 4.90 ± 4.97 5.42 ± 1.05 4.04 ± 1.76 1.38 ± 1.70 
C/T 14.13 ± 6.86 9.07 ± 6.16 5.07 ± 5.91 5.00 ± 1.25 3.60 ± 2.29 1.40 ± 2.47 
T/T 13.69 ± 4.79 3.54 ± 3.31 10.15 ± 6.01 4.92 ± 0.76 1.85 ± 1.72 3.08 ± 1.66 
Genotypes APACHE-II score Improvement value Balthazar CTIS score Improvement value 
 0 day 7 days  0 day 7 days  
MMP-2 C-1306T       
C/C 13.93 ± 5.60 7.70 ± 4.48 6.24 ± 5.21 5.29 ± 1.04 3.43 ±1.62 1.86 ± 1.68 
C/T 15.33 ± 6.00 11.54 ± 7.13 3.79 ± 5.85* 5.38 ± 1.01 4.71 ± 1.94 0.67 ± 1.88* 
T/T 15.77 ± 7.38 14.15 ± 7.09 1.62 ± 2.93* 5.62 ± 1.33 5.08 ± 2.93 0.54 ± 2.26* 
MMP-2 C-735T       
C/C 14.12 ± 5.92 8.45 ± 5.38 5.67 ± 5.82 5.37 ± 1.15 3.67 ± 1.84 1.70 ± 1.86 
C/T 14.45 ± 5.80 9.45 ± 6.00 5.00 ± 4.49 5.26 ± 0.89 4.02 ± 2.07 1.24 ± 1.81 
T/T 17.00 ± 4.94 13.00 ± 6.93 4.00 ± 2.61 5.17 ± 0.75 4.17 ± 2.14 1.00 ± 1.67 
MMP-9 C-1562T       
C/C 14.44 ± 5.85 9.54 ± 5.53 4.90 ± 4.97 5.42 ± 1.05 4.04 ± 1.76 1.38 ± 1.70 
C/T 14.13 ± 6.86 9.07 ± 6.16 5.07 ± 5.91 5.00 ± 1.25 3.60 ± 2.29 1.40 ± 2.47 
T/T 13.69 ± 4.79 3.54 ± 3.31 10.15 ± 6.01 4.92 ± 0.76 1.85 ± 1.72 3.08 ± 1.66 

*P<0.05, compared with C/C; P<0.05, compared with T/T.

Discussion

In this investigation, we analyzed the genotype and allele frequency distribution amongst the included 276 SAP patients to explore the associations of different genotypes of MMP-2 and MMP-9 genes with UTI efficacy in treating SAP. Our results showed that MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphisms were directly related to the efficacy of UTI in treating SAP.

SAP is distinguished from mild AP not only in the hemorrhage and necrosis of pancreatic tissues, but also its life-threatening complications of shock, electrolyte imbalance, multiple organ failure, and inflammation [31]. MMP-2 and MMP-9 have been confirmed to be in a close association with acute inflammatory reaction [32].

UTI is a drug that can act as an acid-resistant trypsin inhibitor, thus making it an ideal drug in the treatment of SAP. It works by stabilizing the lysosomal membranes, inhibiting excessive inflammatory response, and reducing tissue and organ damage, which makes it useful in treating the complications caused by SAP [33]. By comparing the symptoms of SAP patients before and after therapy, we found that after the 7th day of UTI therapy, duration of patients’ symptoms such as abdominal distension, abdominal pain, tenderness, and rebound tenderness were reduced significantly. Laboratory testing also showed that albumin was significantly increased whereas serum calcium, WBCs, urine amylase, and serum amylase were all reduced as well as the scores of APACHE-II and Balthazar CTIS. We speculated that the reduction in symptoms and improvement in laboratory tests is attributed to the effectiveness of how UTI could inhibit the hydrolase enzyme activity of trypsin, elastase, and hyaluronic acid enzymes. This will therefore lead to improved microcirculation and tissue perfusion, repressing the activation of leukocytes, and inflammatory mediator release. All these effects lead to the reduced damage that is done to the body’s tissues and organs reducing all the types of complications [34].

Moreover, the study also concluded that MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism was correlated with the efficacy of UTI in treating SAP. In a state of inflammation, hydrolytic enzymes would enter into the blood vessels, thereby causing the dysfunction in various organs and tissues [35]. MMP-2 is a type IV collagenase that mainly degrades type IV collagen, the major structural component of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix [36]. MMP-9, like MMP-2 is also a type IV collagenase. During the inflammation, MMP-9 is found to cause vascular endothelial injury and accelerate the migration and invasion of inflammatory cells, worsening the inflammatory response [37,38]. Through the inhibition of the release of hydrolytic enzymes, UTI is able to attenuate the inflammatory reaction and the absorption of endotoxin thereby protecting tissues and organs and preserving their functions. The reduction in the incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome should improve the clinical efficacy of SAP [30]. A study by Feng et al. [39] has shown that UTI could decrease the level of plasma amylase and effectively reduce the pathological changes in pancreas to lower the incidence of complications. UTI has also been proven to reduce the levels of MMP-9 and MMP-2 to function to have a protective role in tissues and organs [40].

MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene promoter factors existed –1306C/T and –1562C/T polymorphism, respectively, which may affect gene transcription and lead to changes in gene function. The transition C–T at locus −1306 or −735 in MMP-2 gene could disrupt a Sp-1-binding site, thus, resulting in decreased MMP-2 promoter activity. The transition of C–T at locus −1562 in the MMP-9 gene has been shown to lead to increased promoter activity [18,41]. A study showed that the MMP-2 expression of patients with CC genotype was significantly higher than that of patients carrying CT and TT genotypes and individuals with the MMP-9 gene TT genotype had a higher risk for than those with the CC and CT genotypes [42]. Furthermore, the study by Yan et al. [43] found that MMP-2 1306C/T and MMP-9 1562C/T polymorphism were correlated with cancer susceptibility. The study showed that the effective rates for patients with MMP-2 C-1306T C/C genotype and MMP-9 C-1562T T/T genotype were higher than that in patients carrying other genotypes, which indicated that MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism had relevance with the efficacy of UTI in the treatment of SAP. Thus, this supports our study by showing that genotypic changes and MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism may influence the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in SAP patients and thereby affected the efficacy of UTI.

In summary, our study demonstrated that MMP-2 and MMP-9 gene polymorphism was probably linked to the efficacy of UTI in treating SAP. However, some limitations existed in the present study. First, the sample size in our study still remains insufficient to obtain more accurate data, which requires further studies with larger sample sizes. In addition, confounding factors including smoking status, alcohol consumption, and dietary laws were not considered to a great extent and thus need to be considered in further investigations. Nonetheless, our findings provide evidence for clinical practice of UTI therapy in SAP patients.

We thank the helpful comments on the present paper received from our reviewers.

Competing interests

The authors declare that there are no competing interests associated with the manuscript.

Author contribution

G.-D.Z. conceived the study and together with Z.-F.L. and S.-S.W. designed the study. L.-B.Z. and M.-Y.C. were involved in data collection. L.-B.Z. and Z.-H.L. performed the statistical analysis. G.-D.Z. and S.-S.W. drafted the paper. L.-B.Z., S.-Z.Z. and Z.-F.L. contributed substantially to its revision. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

The authors declare that there are no sources of funding to be a acknowledged.

Abbreviations

     
  • AP

    acute pancreatitis

  •  
  • CT

    computed tomography

  •  
  • MMP

    matrix metalloproteinase

  •  
  • SAP

    severe acute pancreatitis

  •  
  • SNP

    single nucleotide polymorphism

  •  
  • UTI

    ulinastatin

  •  
  • WBC

    white blood cell

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