Proteinases in cutaneous wound healing

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Jan;66(2):203-24. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8388-4.


Cutaneous wound healing is a complex and highly coordinated process where a number of different cell types participate to renew the damaged tissue under the strict regulation of soluble and insoluble factors. One of the most versatile processes involved in wound repair is proteolysis. During cell migration, proteins of extracellular matrix are cleaved, often creating biologically active cleavage products, and proteolysis of cellular contacts leads to increased cell motility and division. Moreover, proteases activate various growth factors and other proteases in wound and regulate growth factor signaling by shedding growth factor receptors on cell surface. Normally, proteolysis is strictly controlled, and changes in protease activity are associated with alterations in wound closure and scar formation. Here, we present the current view on the role of metalloproteinases and the plasmin-plasminogen system in normal and aberrant cutaneous wound repair and discuss their role as potential therapeutic targets for chronic ulcers or fibrotic scars.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cicatrix / metabolism
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Fibrinolysin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Skin* / injuries
  • Skin* / metabolism
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Fibrinolysin
  • ADAM Proteins
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases