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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 964131, 19 pages
Review Article

Matrix Metalloproteinases in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Update

School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Received 4 July 2014; Accepted 7 September 2014

Academic Editor: H. Barbaros Oral

Copyright © 2015 Shane O’Sullivan 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.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are known to be upregulated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory conditions, but while their involvement is clear, their role in many settings has yet to be determined. Studies of the involvement of MMPs in IBD since 2006 have revealed an array of immune and stromal cells which release the proteases in response to inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. Through digestion of the extracellular matrix and cleavage of bioactive proteins, a huge diversity of roles have been revealed for the MMPs in IBD, where they have been shown to regulate epithelial barrier function, immune response, angiogenesis, fibrosis, and wound healing. For this reason, MMPs have been recognised as potential biomarkers for disease activity in IBD and inhibition remains a huge area of interest. This review describes new roles of MMPs in the pathophysiology of IBD and suggests future directions for the development of treatment strategies in this condition.