, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 471-485
Date: 27 Apr 2011

Matrix metalloproteinases at key junctions in the pathomechanism of stroke

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Abstract

Matrix metalloproteinases play a crucial role in the remodelling of the extracellular matrix through direct degradation of its structural proteins and control of extracellular signalling. The most common cause of ischemic brain damage is an atherothrombotic lesion in the supplying arteries. The progress of the atherosclerotic plaque development and the related thrombotic complications are mediated in part by matrix metalloproteinases. In addition to their role in the underlying disease, various members of this protease family are upregulated in the acute phase of ischemic brain damage as well as in the post-ischemic brain recovery following stroke. This review summarizes the current understanding of the matrix metalloproteinase-related molecular events at three stages of the ischemic cerebrovascular disease (in the atherosclerotic plaque, in the neurovascular unit of the brain and in the regenerating brain tissue).