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Vascular. 2012 Aug;20(4):210-6. doi: 10.1258/vasc.2011.201202. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Matrix metalloproteinases in vascular physiology and disease.

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  • 1Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases that primarily degrade components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Remodeling of the ECM by MMPs is important in both physiological and pathological processes, including organ generation/regeneration, angiogenesis, wound healing, inflammation and tumor growth. In the vasculature, MMPs play a role in beneficial processes such as angiogenesis, collateral artery formation and thrombus resolution. However, MMP expression is also implicated in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysms, plaque rupture and neointimal hyperplasia after balloon angioplasty. Here, we review the structure, functions and roles of MMPs in both neovascularization and vascular pathology and discuss the potential of, and challenges that face, adapting MMPs as therapeutic targets in vascular disease.

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