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Matrix metalloproteinases in liver injury, repair and fibrosis


The liver is a large highly vascularized organ with a central function in metabolic homeostasis, detoxification, and immunity. Due to its roles, the liver is frequently exposed to various insults which can cause cell death and hepatic dysfunction. Alternatively, the liver has a remarkable ability to self-repair and regenerate after injury. Liver injury and regeneration have both been linked to complex extracellular matrix (ECM) related pathways. While normal degradation of ECM components is an important feature of tissue repair and remodeling, irregular ECM turnover contributes to a variety of liver diseases. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are the main enzymes implicated in ECM degradation. MMPs not only remodel the ECM, but also regulate immune responses. In this review, we highlight some of the MMP-attributed roles in acute and chronic liver injury and emphasize the need for further experimentation to better understand their functions during hepatic physiological conditions and disease progression.

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