Previous experimental studies have demonstrated that MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) contribute to LV (left ventricular) remodelling. We hypothesized that cardiac MMPs are activated in patients with AMI (acute myocardial infarction) and, if so, MMP production may be attenuated by statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors) through their cardiovascular protective actions. We studied 30 patients, ten control patients with stable angina pectoris and 20 patients with AMI, in whom LV catheterization at the chronic stage was performed 22±12 days (value is mean±S.D.) after the onset of AMI. Blood samples were collected from the CS (coronary sinus) and a peripheral artery. In patients with AMI, the levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were significantly (P<0.05) higher in the CS than the peripheral artery (MMP-2, 853±199 compared with 716±127 ng/ml; MMP-9, 165±129 compared with 98±82 ng/ml), whereas no significant differences were observed in the patients with angina pectoris. The CS–arterial concentration gradients of MMP-2 and MMP-9 correlated positively with BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) levels (MMP-2, R=0.68, P<0.01; MMP-9, R=0.59, P<0.05) and LV end-diastolic volume index (MMP-2, R=0.70, P<0.01; MMP-9, R=0.70, P<0.01). When patients with AMI treated with 10 mg of pravastatin or without (n=10 in each group) were compared, this statin therapy significantly (P<0.05) decreased the CS–arterial concentration gradients of MMP-2 (69±43 compared with 213±185 ng/ml) and MMP-9 (14±27 compared with 119±84 ng/ml). In conclusion, the enhanced production of cardiac MMP-2 and MMP-9 is associated with LV enlargement and elevated BNP levels in patients with AMI. A pleiotropic effect of statins appears to be associated with the modulation of cardiac MMP activation, which may be potentially beneficial in the attenuation of post-infarction LV remodelling.

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