Increased secretion and expression of MMPs have been reported in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which are chronic inflammatory lung diseases that lead to chronic airflow obstruction associated with significant mortality and morbidity.

Asthma is defined as an inflammatory disease of the airways that is associated with an abnormal response mechanisms of the airway smooth muscle that leads to episodes of airway narrowing, making asthma a disease where the airways are prone to narrow excessively in response to many provoking inhaled stimuli. The chronic airway inflammation of asthma is characterized by an infiltration of CD4+ T cells, eosinophils, macrophages/monocytes, and mast cells, and sometimes neutrophils, possibly a marker of severity.

A specific class of T cells referred to as T- helper type (Th2) cells orchestrate and perpetuate inflammation and remodelling through the secretion of many cytokines including IL-4, IL-5, IL-9 and IL-13. Each of these play distinct roles with IL-4 regulating IgE production by B cells, while IL-13 is involved in bronchial hyperresponsiveness, subepithelial fibrosis and eosinophilic inflammation.

COPD is a preventable and treatable disease with some significant extrapulmonary effects that may contribute to the severity in individual patients and its pulmonary component is characterised by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible, usually progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lung to noxious particles or gases.  

MMPs may participate in the pathophysiology of asthma and COPD in many ways. Apart from the obvious degradation of extracellular matrix proteins and destruction of lung tissue (16), the potential actions include many aspects involved with the regulation of airway inflammation such as the extravasation of inflammatory cells from the blood compartment to the extracellular space, the movement of inflammatory cells through the epithelium, and the chemotaxis of inflammatory cells into the inflamed tissue by modulating the activities of chemoattractants.  

Luisa Fernanda Zúñiga-Cerón

Médica Interna-Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Facultad de Medicina, Integrante de la Universidad del Cauca. Integrante y co fundadora de la Corporación Del Laboratorio al Campo (DLC), Investigadora del Grupo de Investigación en Salud (GIS) –Popayán -Colombia.


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Órgano consultor del Gobierno Nacional en temas de educación médica y salud del pueblo colombiano.