Clinical implications of matrix metalloproteinases
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Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of neutral proteinases that are important for normal development, wound healing, and a wide variety of pathological processes, including the spread of metastatic cancer cells, arthritic destruction of joints, atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and neuroinflammation. In the central nervous system (CNS), MMPs have been shown to degrade components of the basal lamina, leading to disruption of the blood brain barrier and to contribute to the neuroinflammatory responses in many neurological diseases. Inhibition of MMPs have been shown to prevent progression of these diseases. Currently, certain MMP inhibitors have entered into clinical trials. A goal to the future should be to design selective synthetic inhibitors of MMPs that have minimum side effects. MMP inhibitors are designed in such a way that these can not only bind at the active site of the proteinases but also to have the characteristics to bind to other sites of MMPs which might be a promising route for therapy. To name a few: catechins, a component isolated from green tea; and Novastal, derived from extracts of shark cartilage are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of MMP-mediated diseases.
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