Imbalanced MMP-3 and MMP-12 serum levels in systemic lupus erythematosus patients with Jaccoud’s arthropathy and a distinctive MRI pattern.

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Metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 and MMP-12 are proteolytic enzymes especially implicated in joint inflammation. This study aims to evaluate their association with arthritis features and hand MRI abnormalities in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Fifty SLE patients, with a mean (SD) age of 48.1 (14.6) years were tested for MMP-3 and MMP-12 serum levels, then further classified according to the presence of X-Ray erosions and joint deformities. Eighteen rheumatoid arthritis patients aged 47.9 (11.8) and 14 healthy people aged 46.0 (11.0) were enrolled as control groups. A subgroup of 28 SLE patients underwent a dominant-hand MRI; the detected changes were classified and semiquantitatively scored as capsular swelling, synovitis, edematous or proliferative tenosynovitis, bone oedema, bone erosions. Statistical analysis was performed using multiple regression models.MMP-3 were significantly higher in patients with Jaccoud’s arthropathy (JA) (22.1 ng/ml, p< 0.05) and independently associated with hsCRP serum levels (B-coeff 0.50; r = 0.30; p< 0.05). MMP-12 serum levels were significantly lower in patients with JA (0.18 ng/ml, p< 0.05) and inversely associated with the prednisone daily dose (B-coeff -0.03; r= -0.44; p< 0.01). Capsular swelling and edematous tenosynovitis, the most prevalent hand MRI changes in patients with JA, associated with higher MMP-3 (B-coeff 0.12; r = 0.66; p< 0.01 and B-coeff 0.08; r = 0.59; p< 0.01, respectively) and lower MMP-12 serum levels (B-coeff -7.4; r= -0.50; p< 0.05 and B-coeff -5.2; r= -0.44; p= 0.05, respectively).Imbalanced MMP-3 and MMP-12 serum levels are influenced by inflammation and glucocorticoids in SLE patients and associated with JA and distinctive hand MRI changes.

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