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Collagenase: A key enzyme in collagen turnover

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Shingleton, Emeritus Professor Tim Cawston


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The primary agents responsible for cartilage and bone destruction in joint diseases are active proteinases that degrade collagen and proteoglycan. All four main classes of proteolytic enzymes are involved in either the normal turnover of connective tissue or its pathological destruction. These proteinases are made by different cells found within the joints. Both extracellular and intracellular pathways exist and individual enzymes can be inhibited by specific proteinaceous inhibitors that block their activity. Recent research has implicated the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in many of the processes involved in joint diseases. The metalloproteinases are capable of degrading all components of the extracellular matrix. This family of proteinases contains a group of at least three collagenases that are capable of degrading native fibrillar collagen. Collagen degradation within joint disease is recognized as the irreversible step in the destruction of cartilage that leads to a failure in joint function. The collagenases are the enzymes necessary to initiate collagen turnover in normal connective tissue turnover and in disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shingleton WD, Hodges DJ, Brick P, Cawston TE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biochemistry and Cell Biology: Biochimie et Biologie Cellulaire

Year: 1996

Volume: 74

Issue: 6

Pages: 759-775

Print publication date: 01/12/1996

ISSN (print): 0829-8211

ISSN (electronic): 1208-6002

Publisher: NRC Research Press


DOI: 10.1139/o96-083


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