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J Neuroimmunol. 2007 Jul;187(1-2):9-19. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

The matrix metalloproteinases and CNS plasticity: an overview.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia.


The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are expressed in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli and other triggers. The MMPs cleave numerous substrates including extracellular matrix components, cytokines and growth factors. In the CNS, while most studied in the context of disease, the many physiological functions of the MMPs are now becoming appreciated. This review provides an overview of the growing body of evidence for physiological roles of MMPs both in CNS development and in CNS plasticity in normal brain functioning, including learning and memory, as well as in CNS repair and reorganization as part of the neuroimmune response to injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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