Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in oral diseases

Oral Dis. 2004 Nov;10(6):311-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.2004.01038.x.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a group of enzymes that in concert are responsible for the degradation of most extracellular matrix proteins during organogenesis, growth and normal tissue turnover. The expression and activity of MMPs in adult tissues is normally quite low, but increases significantly in various pathological conditions that may lead into unwanted tissue destruction, such as inflammatory diseases, tumour growth and metastasis. MMPs have a marked role also in tissue destructive oral diseases. The role of collagenases, especially MMP-8, in periodontitis and peri-implantitis is the best-known example of the unwanted tissue destruction related to increased presence and activity of MMPs at the site of disease, but evidence has been brought forward to indicate that MMPs may be involved also in other oral diseases, such as dental caries and oral cancer. This brief review describes some of the history, the current status and the future aspects of the work mainly of our research groups looking at the presence and activity of various MMPs in different oral diseases, as well as some of the MMP-related aspects that may facilitate the development of new means of diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Collagenases / metabolism
  • Dental Caries / enzymology*
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology
  • Periodontitis / enzymology*
  • Periodontitis / etiology


  • Collagenases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases