Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 962–970 | Cite as

Role of matrix metalloproteinases in healing of colonic anastomosis

  • Felicity J. Savage
  • Domingos L. P. Lacombe
  • Paul B. Boulos
  • Rosalind M. Hembry
Original Contributions


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to compare the distribution of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) during anastomotic healing in a normal colon with that in an ischemic colon in a rabbit. This family of enzymes degrades all components of connective tissue and has been implicated as a cause of anastomotic dehiscence. METHODS: A left-sided anastomosis was formed in the distal colon of one group of rabbits, and in the other group, 9 cm of distal colon was made ischemic before resection and anastomosis 12 hours later. Tissues from the anastomosis and sites around the colon were removed at 12 hours, 1 day, and 3 days after anastomosis and, also, at 7 days in the normal group. Distribution of the MMPs and their inhibitor, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP), was localized by indirect immunofluorescence. RESULTS: In rabbits having only an anastomosis, the MMPs and TIMP-1 were, at all times, seen solely in the anastomotic segment and were strictly confined to the immediate vicinity of the suture line. While in rabbits with an ischemic colon before anastomosis, the MMPs initially extended several centimeters proximally and distally from the suture line. By the third day, however, there were only minor differences between the two models. CONCLUSION: Distribution of the MMPs and TIMP-1 in normal healing is consistent with a role in the remodeling of colonic anastomosis, but when healing of the colon is compromised, these en2ymes are more widespread and may contribute to anastomotic dehiscence.

Key words

Anastomosis Healing Matrix metalloproteinases Colon Collagenase Rabbit Dehiscence Leakage Ischemia 


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Copyright information

© American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felicity J. Savage
    • 1
  • Domingos L. P. Lacombe
    • 1
  • Paul B. Boulos
    • 1
  • Rosalind M. Hembry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity College London Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Cell and Molecular BiologyStrangeways Research LaboratoryCambridgeUK

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