Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs)
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-dependent proteins that propagate in tissue after it becomes damaged or, in some cases, after the tissue is afflicted by disease. MMPs normally play a beneficial role in healing, by helping to break down and remove damaged tissue from an injured area and preparing the region for new replacement tissue. For example, if a person is injured, MMPs in the wound help to destroy and remove the dead and damaged tissue in order to prepare the wound site for the new tissue that will be used to close and heal the wound.
The role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in wound healing is well established. In chronic wounds the reduction or control of MMPs may enhance healing. In an abnormal or chronic wound, current research indicates that MMPs are overproduced. These “out of control” MMPs not only break down the damaged and dead tissues, they also destroy the replacement tissues and sometimes even the healthy wound margins. These MMP activities can create a slow-healing or non-healing wound, or even a wound that continues to grow in size. Therefore, to heal a chronic wound, it is crucial that MMP production is properly regulated. By properly regulating the level of MMPs in the wound bed, faster and better re-epithelialization occurs. There have been a number of published articles about this. For more information, see our Abstracts of Key Studies.
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