Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2014 Nov; 121(11):1387-97.JN
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases, responsible for the integrity of the basement membrane (BM) via degradation of extracellular matrix and BM components. These enzymes are presented in central and peripheral nervous system. They are considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of several neurological diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a motor neuron disease, leading to muscle atrophy, paralysis and death within 3-5 years from diagnosis. Currently, there is no treatment that can substantially prolong life of ALS patients. Despite the fact that MMPs are not specific for ALS, there is also strong evidence that these enzymes are involved in the pathology of ALS. MMPs are able to exert direct neurotoxic effects, or may cause cell death by degrading matrix proteins. The objective of this paper is to provide an updated and comprehensive review concerning the role of MMPs and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in the pathology of ALS with an emphasis on the significance of MMP-2 and MMP-9 as well as their tissue inhibitors as potential biomarkers of ALS. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed regarding the role of selected MMPs and TIMPs in ALS pathogenesis. Moreover, selective MMPs' inhibitors might be potential targets for therapeutic strategies for patients with ALS. However, future investigations are necessary before some of those non-specific for ALS enzymes could finally be used as biomarkers of this disease.