Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-12 in aortic dissection

Yi Song12, Yuehui Xie13, Feng Liu1, Chong Zhao1, Rui Yu1, Shao Ban1, Qiufang Ye1, Jianxion Wen1, Haibo Wan1, Xiang Li2, Runwei Ma12* and Zhaohui Meng1*

Author affiliations

1 Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Department of Cardiology; The First Affiliated Hospital Of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, 650032, China

2 The Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, The Second Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, 650032, China

3 Department of Computer Science, The Faculty of Basic Medicine, Kunming Medical University, Kunming, 650031, China

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Citation and License

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:34  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-34

Published: 3 May 2013



Aortic dissection(AD) is an acute process of large blood vessels characterized by dangerous pathogenic conditions and high disability and high mortality. The pathogenesis of AD remains debated. Matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP-12) participates in many pathological processes such as abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, emphysema and cancer. However, this elastase has rarely been assessed in the presence of AD. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of MMP-12 in aortic tissue so as to offer a better understanding of the possible mechanisms of AD.


The protein expression levels of MMP-12 were analyzed and compared in aorta tissue and the blood serum samples by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR), Western blotting, immuno-histochemistry, fluorescence resonance energy transfer ( FRET ) activity assay and enzyme-linked immuno sorbent assay ( ELISA ), respectively. Ascending aorta tissue specimens were obtained from 12 patients with an acute Stanford A-dissection at the time of aortic replacement, and from 4 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. Meanwhile, serum samples were harvested from 15 patients with an acute Stanford A-dissection and 10 healthy individuals who served as the control group.


MMP-12 activity could be detected in both AD and CAD groups, but the level in the AD group was higher than those in the CAD group (P < 0.05). MMP-12 proteolysis existed in both serum samples of the AD and healthy groups, and the activity level in the AD group was clearly higher than in the healthy group (P < 0.05). For AD patients, MMP-12 activity in serum was higher than in the aorta wall (P < 0.05). MMP-12 activity in the aortic wall tissue can be inhibited by MMP inhibitor v (P < 0.05).


The present study directly demonstrates that MMP-12 proteolytic activity exists within the aorta specimens and blood samples from aortic dissection patients. MMP-12 might be of potential relevance as a clinically diagnostic tool and therapeutic target in vascular injury and repair.

Aortic dissection; MMP-12; Protein expression