Adverse cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction (MI) remains a significant cause of congestive heart failure. Additional and novel strategies that improve our ability to predict, diagnose, or treat remodeling are needed. Numerous groups have explored single and multiple biomarker strategies to identify diagnostic prognosticators of remodeling progression, which will improve our ability to promptly and accurately identify high-risk individuals. The identification of better clinical indicators should further lead to more effective prediction and timely treatment. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9) is one potential biomarker for cardiac remodeling, as demonstrated by both animal models and clinical studies. In animal MI models, MMP-9 expression significantly increases and is linked with inflammation, diabetic microvascular complications, extracellular matrix degradation and synthesis, and cardiac dysfunction. Clinical studies have also established a relationship between MMP-9 and post-MI remodeling and mortality, making MMP-9 a viable candidate to add to the multiple biomarker list. By definition, a proximal biomarker shows a close relationship with its target disease, whereas a distal biomarker exhibits non-targeted disease modifying outcomes. In this review, we explore the ability of MMP-9 to serve as a proximal biomarker for cardiac remodeling and a distal biomarker for inflammation. We summarize the current molecular basis and clinical platform that allow us to include MMP-9 as a biomarker in both categories.
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