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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 908636, 8 pages
Review Article

Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Multiple Roles in Alzheimer’s Disease

1Department of Neurology, Qingdao Municipal Hospital, School of Medicine, Qingdao University, No. 5 Donghai Middle Road, Qingdao 266071, China
2Department of Neurology, Qingdao Huangdao District People’s Hospital, Qingdao 266400, China
3Department of Neurology, Qingdao Municipal Hospital, College of Medicine and Pharmaceutics, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China

Received 9 February 2014; Revised 9 June 2014; Accepted 10 June 2014; Published 24 June 2014

Academic Editor: Raymond Chuen-Chung Chang

Copyright © 2014 Xiang-Xiang Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent type of dementia. Pathological changes in the AD brain include amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), as well as neuronal death and synaptic loss. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play an important role as inflammatory components in the pathogenesis of AD. MMP-2 might be assumed to have a protective role in AD and is the major MMP which is directly linked to Aβ in the brain. Synthesis of MMP-9 can be induced by Aβ, and the enzymes appear to exert multiple effects in AD in senile plaque homoeostasis. The proaggregatory influence on tau oligomer formation in strategic brain regions may be a potential neurotoxic side effect of MMP-9. MMP-3 levels are correlated to the duration of AD and correlate with the CSF T-tau and P-tau levels in the elderly controls. Elevated brain levels of MMP-3 might result in increased MMP-9 activity and indirectly facilitate tau aggregation. At present, the clinical utility of these proteins, particularly in plasma or serum, as potential early diagnostic biomarkers for AD remains to be established. More research is needed to understand the diverse roles of these proteases to design specific drugs and devise therapeutic strategies for AD.