Cross-talk between macrophages and smooth muscle cells impairs collagen and metalloprotease synthesis and promotes angiogenesis.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), also called matrixins, function in the extracellular environment of cells and degrade both matrix and non-matrix proteins. They play central roles in morphogenesis, wound healing, tissue repair and remodelling in response to injury, e.g. after myocardial infarction, and in progression of diseases such as atheroma, arthritis, cancer and chronic tissue ulcers. They are multi-domain proteins and their activities are regulated by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). This review introduces the members of the MMP family and discusses their domain structure and function, proenyme activation, the mechanism of inhibition by TIMPs and their significance in physiology and pathology.