Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a pivotal family of zinc enzymes responsible for degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) components including basement membrane collagen, interstitial collagen, fibronectin, and various proteoglycans, during normal remodeling and repair processes. The potent proteolytic activities of MMPs is mainly regulated by the balance with specific tissue inhibitors of Matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP). Excessive or inappropriate expression of MMP may contribute to the pathogenesis of tissue destructive processes in a wide variety of diseases including lung diseases. Although the precise mechanisms are still unknown, the contribution of individual MMPs are worth investigating in seeking the pathogenesis of various lung diseases such as lung cancer, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute lung injury, pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung diseases. In particular, the close association of each lung disease with the destructive effects of gelatinase A and B (also called MMP-2 and MMP-9) on the basement membrane in early alveolar remodeling, and that of collagenase-1 (MMP-1) on the major interstitial structural protein of ECM have received considerable attention. The interaction of MMPs with chemical mediators and inflammatory cytokines has also been reported in some recent studies. Several promising therapeutic approaches to inhibit MMPs have just started in the field of oncology, while more specific MMP inhibitors may be required for further investigation in other fields of lung diseases. In this review, The main focus is on the recent clinical and experimental findings and the contributions of MMPs and / or TIMPs in the lung diseases.
Internal Med. JA GifuKoseiren Showa Hospital, 86 Toki-Cho, Mizunami City, Gifu Pref. 509-6101, Japan