Matrix metalloproteinases and the thyroid

Thyroid. 2000 Dec;10(12):1061-9. doi: 10.1089/thy.2000.10.1061.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are proteolytic enzymes that degrade components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and basement membrane. They play a critical role in many physiological and pathological processes, such as tumor metastasis. The original concept-that MMP activity during metastasis is restricted solely to invasion of the basement membrane and destruction of ECM components-has been modified to encompass multiple aspects of tumor progression: tumor establishment, growth, angiogenesis, intravasation, extravasation, and almost all metastatic steps. Moreover, the role of tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs), originally believed to exhibit anti-invasion properties solely by virtue of their inhibition of MMPs, has been extended to include their multiple biological effects, such as growth promotion. In thyroid neoplasia as well, MMPs, in particular MMP-2, seem to be associated with metastatic potential. It would seem that similar and divergent patterns regulate MMP and TIMP gene expression in benign and malignant human thyrocytes, in many instances in agreement with the concept of MMPs playing the role of stimulating, and TIMPs inhibiting cell invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases* / chemistry
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases* / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Thyroid Gland / enzymology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases


  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases