ABSTRACT: Smoking induces skin ageing, affects wound healing and inflammatory responses in skin and mucous membranes but the mechanisms behind these adverse effects of smoking are not clear. The objective was to elucidate the mechanisms of smoking-related tissue damage, by comparing the levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) -2, -9, and -8 in the skin, serum and saliva of smokers and non-smokers. The study population consisted of 47 current smokers and 51 non-smokers, all males of Finnish origin. Skin samples from the upper inner arm were frozen in liquid nitrogen. Levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein in the skin were assessed by zymography and MMP-8 isoforms were determined by Western blotting. From the serum samples, MMP-2 and MMP-9 were assessed by zymography and MMP-8 levels by time-resolved immunofluorometric assay (IFMA). From the salivary samples, MMP-8 levels were analysed by IFMA and MMP-9 levels by capture activity assay. In skin tissue, lower levels of both the pro and active forms of MMP-9 and of the active forms of MMP-8 were found in the smokers compared to the non-smokers. In serum, higher levels of proMMP-2 and proMMP-9 were found in the smokers compared to the non-smokers (P=0.001 and P<0.001, respectively), whereas MMP-8 levels did not differ significantly between the groups. Active forms of MMP-9 and MMP-2 could not be found in serum. In saliva, the amount of total MMP-9 was significantly lower in the smokers (156.0 U/ml) compared to the non-smokers (223.9 U/ml, P=0.032), whereas the levels of MMP-8 or active MMP-9 did not differ significantly between the groups. We conclude that smoking alters the levels of matrix metalloproteinases in skin tissue, serum and saliva, which may affect the turnover of extracellular matrix of skin even though the clinical impact of our findings is not clear.
Archives for Dermatological Research 12/2005; 297(6):242-8. · 2.28 Impact Factor