, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 17-27
Date: 23 Aug 2012

Matrix Metalloproteinases in the Pathogenesis of Asthma and COPD

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While asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways involving mediators released from mast cells and eosinophils, inflammation alone is insufficient to explain the chronic nature of the disease. Recent progress in the understanding of disease pathogenesis has revealed that airway remodeling, which is at least in part due to an excess of extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition in the airway wall, plays a significant role in airflow obstruction. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been suggested to be the major proteolytic enzymes to induce airway remodeling in asthma and COPD. It has been widely accepted that different inflammatory processes are involved in asthma and COPD with different inflammatory cells, mediators, and responses to treatments. Despite these different processes, airflow obstruction and airway remodeling characterize these two diseases. MMP-2 and -9 have been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling in both diseases and MMP-12, in addition to these MMPs, in the pathogenesis of COPD.

In this review, we discuss the current views on the role of MMPs in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma and COPD. Anti-MMP therapy could theoretically be useful to prevent airway remodeling in asthma and COPD. However, to date no clinical data are available regarding the efficacy of anti-MMP therapies in the treatment of patients with asthma and COPD.