Metalloproteinases and Wound Healing

Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2015 Apr 1;4(4):225-234. doi: 10.1089/wound.2014.0581.


Significance: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are present in both acute and chronic wounds. They play a pivotal role, with their inhibitors, in regulating extracellular matrix degradation and deposition that is essential for wound reepithelialization. The excess protease activity can lead to a chronic nonhealing wound. The timed expression and activation of MMPs in response to wounding are vital for successful wound healing. MMPs are grouped into eight families and display extensive homology within these families. This homology leads in part to the initial failure of MMP inhibitors in clinical trials and the development of alternative methods for modulating the MMP activity. MMP-knockout mouse models display altered wound healing responses, but these are often subtle phenotypic changes indicating the overlapping MMP substrate specificity and inter-MMP compensation. Recent Advances: Recent research has identified several new MMP modulators, including photodynamic therapy, protease-absorbing dressing, microRNA regulation, signaling molecules, and peptides. Critical Issues: Wound healing requires the controlled activity of MMPs at all stages of the wound healing process. The loss of MMP regulation is a characteristic of chronic wounds and contributes to the failure to heal. Future Directions: Further research into how MMPs are regulated should allow the development of novel treatments for wound healing.