Tendons play a crucial role in musculoskeletal functioning because they physically connect bones and muscles
making the movement of articular joints possible. The molecular composition of tendons mostly include collagen I fibrils,
which aggregate together to form fibers to form a fascicle. A complex network composed of resident cells (i.e., tenocytes)
and extracellular matrix macromolecules (glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, glycoproteins and other non collagenous
proteins) interact and define the structure of tendons and their properties. Development, renewal and remodeling of
tendons composition occur at all ages of living organisms so the homeostasis of proteolytic systems is a critical issue. A
major role is played by Metalloproteinases, a family of Zn2+-dependent endopeptidases involved in the catabolism of
several components of the extracellular matrix, such as collagens, proteoglycans, fibronectin and many others. Among
these, two main classes are mostly involved in tendon pathophysiology, namely the Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs)
and a Disintegrin-like and Metalloproteinase domain with Thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTSs). This study analyses the
various aspects of the roles played by Metalloproteinases in the physiological and pathological processes of tendons.
Keywords: Review, Matrix metalloproteinases, A Disintegrin-like and Metalloproteinase domain with Thrombospondin-1
motifs, Tendon Pathophysiology, Repairing Process, Therapeutical Approach.
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