Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 |
Matrix metalloproteinases are members of a unique family of proteolytic enzymes that have a zinc ion at their active sites and can degrade collagens, elastin and other components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). These enzymes are present in normal healthy individuals and have been shown to have an important role in processes such as wound healing, pregnancy, and bone resorption. However, overexpression and activation of MMPs have been linked with a range of pathological processes and disease states involved in the breakdown and remodeling of the ECM. Such diseases include tumor invasion and metastasis, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal disease and vascular processes such as angiogenesis, intimal hyperplasia, atherosclerosis and aneurysms. Recently, MMPs have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Natural inhibitors of MMPs, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs) exist and synthetic inhibitors have been developed which offer hope of new treatment options for these diseases.