Role of matrix metalloproteinases in the development of airway inflammation and remodeling


Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research




Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a major group of proteases known to regulate extracellular matrix (ECM) turnover and so they have been suggested to be important in the process of lung disease associated with tissue remodeling. This has led to the concept that modulation of airway remodeling including excessive proteolysis damage to the tissue may be of interest for future treatment. Within the MMP family, macrophage elastase (MMP-12) is able to degrade ECM components such as elastin and is involved in tissue remodeling processes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease including emphysema. Pulmonary fibrosis has an aggressive course and is usually fatal within an average of 3 to 6 years after the onset of symptoms. Pulmonary fibrosis is associated with deposition of ECM components in the lung interstitium. The excessive airway remodeling as a result of an imbalance in the equilibrium of the normal processes of synthesis and degradation of ECM components could justify anti-protease treatments. Indeed, the correlation of the differences in hydroxyproline levels in the lungs of bleomycin-treated mice strongly suggests that a reduced molar pro-MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid is associated with collagen deposition, beginning as early as the inflammatory events at day 1 after bleomycin administration. Finally, these observations emphasize that effective treatment of these disorders must be started early during the natural history of the disease, prior to the development of extensive lung destruction and fibrosis.

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