Disparate Effects of MMP and TIMP Modulation on Coronary Atherosclerosis and Associated Myocardial Fibrosis

Georgios Kremastiotis, Ishita Handa, Chris Jackson, Sarah J George, Jason L Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity is tightly regulated by the endogenous tissue inhibitors (TIMPs), and dysregulated activity contributes to extracellular matrix remodelling. Accordingly, MMP/TIMP balance is associated with atherosclerotic plaque progression and instability, alongside adverse post-infarction cardiac fibrosis and subsequent heart failure. Here, we demonstrate that prolonged high-fat feeding of apolipoprotein (Apo)e-deficient mice triggered the development of unstable coronary artery atherosclerosis alongside evidence of myocardial infarction and progressive sudden death. Accordingly, the contribution of select MMPs and TIMPs to the progression of both interrelated pathologies was examined in Apoe-deficient mice with concomitant deletion of Mmp7, Mmp9, Mmp12, or Timp1 and relevant wild-type controls after 36-weeks high-fat feeding. Mmp7 deficiency increased incidence of sudden death, while Mmp12 deficiency promoted survival, whereas Mmp9 or Timp1 deficiency had no effect. While all mice harboured coronary disease, atherosclerotic burden was reduced in Mmp7-deficient and Mmp12-deficient mice and increased in Timp1-deficient animals, compared to relevant controls. Significant differences in cardiac fibrosis were only observed in Mmp-7-deficient mice and Timp1-deficient animals, which was associated with reduced capillary number. Adopting therapeutic strategies in Apoe-deficient mice, TIMP-2 adenoviral-overexpression or administration (delayed or throughout) of a non-selective MMP inhibitor (RS-130830) had no effect on coronary atherosclerotic burden or cardiac fibrosis. Taken together, our findings emphasise the divergent roles of MMPs on coronary plaque progression and associated post-MI cardiac fibrosis, highlighting the need for selective therapeutic approaches to target unstable atherosclerosis alongside adverse cardiac remodelling while negating detrimental adverse effects on either pathology, with targeting of MMP-12 seeming a suitable target.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23081
Number of pages16
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Heart Institute


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Mechanisms of disease
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Proteolysis


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