Background: MMPs are known to regulate the turnover of extracellular matrix and have been suggested to be important in lung disease associated with tissue remodeling. Macrophage elastase (MMP-12) is able to degrade extracellular matrix components such as elastin and is involved in tissue remodeling in inflammatory respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), including emphysema. Recent studies using MMP-12 inhibitors have demonstrated a reduction in both the inflammatory process and airspace enlargement in lung tissue.
Objective/methods: This review discusses the potential involvement of MMP-12 in the pathophysiological process and proposes MMP-12 as a target for inflammatory disorders of the respiratory system.
Results/conclusions: MMP-12 plays a predominant role in the inflammatory process induced by cigarette smoke, and therefore is potentially an important therapeutic target for the treatment of COPD.