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Acta Odontol Scand. 2007 Feb;65(1):1-13.

The role of matrix metalloproteinases in the oral environment.

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Department of Operative Dentistry, Endodontics and Dental Materials, Bauru School of Dentistry, São Paulo University, Brazil.


This review focuses specifically on matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their role in physiological and pathological extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and degradation processes in the oral environment. A group of enzymes capable of degrading almost all ECM proteins, MMPs contribute to both normal and pathological tissue remodeling. The expression of different MMPs may be upregulated in pathological conditions such as inflammation and tumor invasion. The balance between activated MMPs and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) controls the extent of ECM remodeling. Prior to mineralization, MMPs may participate in the organization of enamel and dentin organic matrix, or they may regulate mineralization by controlling the proteoglycan turnover. There is evidence indicating that MMPs could be involved in the etiology of enamel fluorosis and amelogenesis imperfecta. They seem to play a part in dentinal caries progression, since they have a crucial role in dentin collagen breakdown in caries lesions. MMPs have been identified in pulpal and periapical inflammation and are strongly correlated with periodontal diseases, since they are the major players in collagen breakdown during periodontal tissue destruction. The use of MMP inhibitors could help the prevention and treatment of many MMP-related oral diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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