, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 299-307
Date: 02 May 2006

Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 and Autoimmune Diseases

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Matrix metalloproteinases (also named matrixin or MMPs) are a major group of enzymes that regulate cell-matrix composition by using zinc for their proteolytic activities. They are essential for various normal biological processes such as embryonic development, morphogenesis, reproduction tissue resorption, and remodeling. Metalloproteinases also play a role in pathological processes including inflammation, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases and cancer. Herein we review the involvement of MMP-9 in a variety of autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, polymyositis and atherosclerosis. MMP-9 plays either a primary or secondary role in each one of those autoimmune diseases by its up or down-regulation. It is not expressed constantly but rather is induced or suppressed by many regulating molecules. This feature of MMP-9 along with its involvement in disease pathogenesis turns it into a target for therapy of autoimmune diseases.