Changes in cardiovascular tissue structure can result in alterations in function. This process occurs as a continuum and can be defined as cardiovascular remodeling. A family of zinc dependent proteases known as the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) has been demonstrated to cause tissue remodeling. A number of past studies have demonstrated increased expression and activation of MMPs in both myocardial and vascular remodeling processes. Experimental results support the concept that the MMPs directly contribute to progressive myocardial remodeling post-myocardial infarction and in cardiomyopathic disease. Within the vascular compartment, compelling evidence exists for the contributory role of MMPs in atheromatous plaque rupture and aortic aneurysms. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to examine recent studies of this proteolytic system in the context of cardiovascular remodeling.
Keywords: Matrix Metalloproteinases, cardiovascular remodeling, Myocardial Remodeling, Vascular Matrix Remodeling, LV Hypertrophy, Atherosclerosis, Aortic Aneurysms, GELATINASES, STROMELYSINS, MEMBRANE-TYPE MMPs, Neurohormones