Objective: Degradation of collagen in the arterial wall by matrix metalloproteinases is the hallmark of atherosclerosis. We have developed an ELISA for the quantification of type III collagen degradation mediated by MMP-9 in urine. Design and methods: A monoclonal antibody targeting a specific MMP-9 generated fragment of collagen III was used in a competitive ELISA. The assay was validated in urine and arterial tissue of Apolipoprotein-E knockout (ApoE-KO) mice. Results: The lower limit of detection was 0.5ng/mL, intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were below 10%. By the end of 20weeks of the study, urine levels of the novel CO3-610 biomarker in ApoE-KO mice increased by two-fold (p<0.0001) and were three-fold higher than in control mice. Western blots confirmed high expression of CO3-610 in arterial extracts of ApoE-KO mice. Conclusion: We have developed a novel competitive ELISA, capable of measuring a urine biomarker indicative of pathological extracellular matrix remodeling in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

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