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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 183653, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Serum Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 in Comparison with Acute Phase Proteins as a Marker of Disease Activity and Radiographic Damage in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis

1Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X663, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
3Medical Research Council Unit for Inflammation and Immunity, Department of Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria and Tshwane Academic Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Pretoria, South Africa
4Biostatistics and Epidemiology Division, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Received 10 December 2012; Accepted 26 February 2013

Academic Editor: Antonio Macciò

Copyright © 2013 Mahmood M. T. M. Ally et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) is involved in the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but little is known about its relationship to genetic susceptibility and biomarkers of disease activity, especially acute phase reactants in early RA. MMP-3 was measured by ELISA in serum samples of 128 disease-modifying, drug-naïve patients and analysed in relation to shared epitope genotype, a range of circulating chemokines/cytokines, acute phase reactants, autoantibodies, cartilage oligomeric protein (COMP), and the simplified disease activity index (SDAI). MMP-3 was elevated >1.86 ng/ml in 56.25% of patients ( ), correlated with several biomarkers, notably IL-8, IL-6, IFN γ, VEGF and COMP ( values = 0.22–0.33, –0.0001) and with CRP and SAA levels ( and 0.41, resp., ) and SDAI ( , ), but not with erosions or nodulosis. However, the correlations of CRP and SAA with SDAI were stronger (respective values of 0.63 and 0.54, for both). COMP correlated with smoking, RF, and MMP-3. MMP-3 is significantly associated with disease activity, inflammatory mediators and cartilage breakdown, making it a potential biomarker of disease severity, but seemingly less useful than CRP and SAA as a biomarker of disease activity in early RA.