J Reprod Immunol. 2023 Sep;159:103991. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2023.103991. Epub 2023 Jul 13.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are major extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling proteinases and regulate uterine remodeling, which is a critical process for healthy pregnancies. The goal of this study was to investigate associations between maternal blood MMPs during pregnancy and birth outcomes among 898 pregnant women in the Puerto Rico PROTECT birth cohort. MMPs (MMP1, MMP2, and MMP9) were quantified using a customized Luminex assay in blood samples collected at two gestational study visits (around 18 and 26 weeks gestation). Linear and logistic regression models were used to regress continuous and binary birth outcomes, respectively, on MMPs at each study visit separately. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to test for effect modification by fetal sex on associations between MMPs and birth outcomes. We observed significant associations between MMP2 at visit 1 and newborn length that were in the opposite direction from the associations between MMP9 at visit 3 and newborn length. MMPs were associated with increased odds of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus, though case numbers were low. We also observed significant inverse associations with gestational age for MMP9 and MMP2 at visit 1 and visit 3, respectively, and these associations were observed only in mothers carrying male fetuses. Further, MMP2 was associated with heavier female fetuses, whereas MMP9 was associated with lighter female fetuses. We observed significant associations between birth outcomes and MMPs, and the majority of these associations differed by fetal sex. This study highlighted significant MMPs-birth outcomes associations that may provide a basis to explore the impact of MMPs on endometrium health and physiology.