Physiologically appropriate levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are likely important to varied aspects
of CNS function. In particular, these enzymes may contribute to neuronal activity dependent synaptic plasticity and to cell
mobility in processes including stem cell migration and immune surveillance. Levels of MMPs may, however, be
substantially increased in the setting of HIV infection with methamphetamine abuse. Elevated MMP levels might in turn
influence integrity of the blood brain barrier, as has been demonstrated in published work. Herein we suggest that elevated
levels of MMPs can also contribute to microglial activation as well as neuronal and synaptic injury through a mechanism
that involves cleavage of specific cell and synaptic adhesion molecules.
Keywords: Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), synapse, neuron, microglial cell, adhesion, cell adhesion molecule (CAM),
methamphetamine, CNS, HAND, SNARE.
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