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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Jan 2024 - 26 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 23

Int J Biol Macromol


Matrix metalloproteinases as attractive therapeutic targets for chronic pain: A narrative review.


Dai XY, Liu L, Song FH, Gao SJ, Wu JY, Li DY, Zhang LQ, Liu DQ, Zhou YQ, Mei W


Chronic pain constitutes an abnormal pain state that detrimentally affects the quality of life, daily activities, occupational performance, and stability of mood. Despite the prevalence of chronic pain, effective drugs with potent abirritation and minimal side effects remain elusive. Substantial studies have revealed aberrant activation of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in multiple chronic pain models. Additionally, emerging evidence has demonstrated that the downregulation of MMPs can alleviate chronic pain in diverse animal models, underscoring the unique and crucial role of MMPs in different stages and types of chronic pain. This review delves into the mechanistic insights and roles of MMPs in modulating chronic pain. The aberrant activation of MMPs has been linked to neuropathic pain through mechanisms involving myelin abnormalities in peripheral nerve and spinal dorsal horn (SDH), hyperexcitability of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) and Ca-dependent signals, glial cell activation, and proinflammatory cytokines release. Different MMPs also contribute significantly to inflammatory pain and cancer pain. Furthermore, we summarized the substantial therapeutic potential of MMP pharmacological inhibitors across different types of chronic pain. Overall, our findings underscore the promising therapeutic prospects of MMPs targeting for managing chronic pain.