Matrix metalloproteinases in the CNS: interferons get nervous.Cell Mol Life Sci. 2019 Aug; 76(16):3083-3095.CM
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been investigated in context of chronic inflammatory diseases and demonstrated to degrade multiple components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). However, following several disappointing MMP clinical trials, recent studies have demonstrated unexpected novel functions of MMPs in viral infections and autoimmune inflammatory diseases in unanticipated locations. Thus, MMPs play additional functions in inflammation than just ECM degradation. They can regulate the activity of chemokines and cytokines of the immune response by precise proteolytic processing resulting in activation or inactivation of signaling pathways. MMPs have been demonstrated to cleave multiple substrates of the central nervous systems (CNS) and contribute to promoting and dampening diseases of the CNS. Initially, believed to be solely promoting pathologies, more than 10 MMPs to date have been shown to have protective functions. Here, we present some of the beneficial and destructive roles of MMPs in CNS pathologies and discuss strategies for the use of MMP inhibitors.