Resistant albuminuria, developed under adequate chronic blockade of the renin–angiotensin system, is a clinical problem present in a small number of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The mechanism underlying this resistant albuminuria remains unknown. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and renal diseases. In the present study we tested the role of MMPs in resistant albuminuria. First we evaluated gelatinase MMP-2 and MMP-9 activity by zymography in the Munich Wistar Frömter (MWF) rat, a model of progressive albuminuria, and subsequently in patients with resistant albuminuria. Markers of oxidative stress were observed in the kidneys of MWF rats, together with a significant increase in pro-MMP-2 and active MMP-9 forms. These changes were normalized together with reduced albuminuria in consomic MWF-8SHR rats, in which chromosome 8 of MWF was replaced with the respective chromosome from spontaneously hypertensive rats. The MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein levels were similar in patients with normal and resistant albuminuria; however, high circulating levels of collagen IV, a specific biomarker of tissue collagen IV degradation, were observed in patients with resistant albuminuria. These patients showed a significant increase in gelatinase MMP-2 and MMP-9 activity, but only a significant increase in the active MMP-9 form quantified by ELISA, which correlated significantly with the degree of albuminuria. Although the expression of the tissue inhibitor of MMP-9 (TIMP)-1 was similar, a novel AlphaLISA assay demonstrated that the MMP-9–TIMP-1 interaction was reduced in patients with resistant albuminuria. It is of interest that oxidized TIMP-1 expression was higher in patients with resistant albuminuria. Therefore, increased circulating MMP-9 activity is associated with resistant albuminuria and a deleterious oxidative stress environment appears to be the underlying mechanism. These changes might contribute to the progression of CKD in these patients.

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