Background/Aims: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are endopeptidases which perform important functions in extracellular matrix remodeling, cell proliferation, and inflammatory processes. Here, we compared MMP-3 levels with those of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 and several inflammatory cytokines in gastric ulcer (GU) patients. Methods: This study enrolled 50 patients with GU and 6 with functional dyspepsia (FD). Samples of gastric mucosa from the antrum and the ulcer site were harvested from GU patients and of antral mucosa alone from FD patients during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Mucosal biopsy tissues were cultured for 24 h, and the culture supernatant was measured for levels of MMP-3, TIMP-1, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. Results: All GU patients were positive for Helicobacter pylori, while all FD patients were negative. Antral levels of TIMP-1, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 were significantly higher in GU than FD patients. Further, MMP-3 levels were significantly higher in GU patients at the ulcer site than in the antrum, and had a significantly positive correlation with TIMP-1, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. Conclusion: MMP-3 levels were significantly higher at the ulcer site than in the antrum, suggesting that MMP-3 may perform an important function in gastric ulcer healing.
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