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Mol Hum Reprod. 1997 Jan;3(1):27-45.

Matrix metalloproteinases as mediators of reproductive function.

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Department of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


The organs of the adult reproductive system can undergo extensive remodelling, experiencing rapid changes in tissue mass and function. Much of this matrix remodelling is attributed to the action of matrix metalloproteinases. Matrix metalloproteinase family members are expressed in a highly-regulated manner in many reproductive processes, including menstruation, ovulation, implantation, and uterine, breast, and prostate involution. Metalloproteinase concentrations and activity can be regulated by reproductive hormones, as well as by growth factors and cytokines that participate in reproductive events. In addition to playing a role in the loss of connective tissue mass, the metalloproteinases can influence the phenotype of the cellular components of the tissues, altering basic cellular functions such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. This review focuses on the expression of matrix metalloproteinases in reproductive tissues, and discusses the evidence supporting a role for these enzymes in modulating the structure and function of reproductive organs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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