Nature Reviews Neuroscience 13, 743-757 (November 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrn3320

Synaptic circuit remodelling by matrix metalloproteinases in health and disease

George W. Huntley1  About the author


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellularly acting enzymes that have long been known to have deleterious roles in brain injury and disease. In particular, widespread and protracted MMP activity can contribute to neuronal loss and synaptic dysfunction. However, recent studies show that rapid and focal MMP-mediated proteolysis proactively drives synaptic structural and functional remodelling that is crucial for ongoing cognitive processes. Deficits in synaptic remodelling are associated with psychiatric and neurological disorders, and aberrant MMP expression or function may contribute to the molecular mechanisms underlying these deficits. This Review explores the paradigm shift in our understanding of the contribution of MMPs to normal and abnormal synaptic plasticity and function.

Author affiliations

  1. Fishberg Department of Neuroscience, Friedman Brain Institute and the Graduate School of Biological Sciences, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.

Published online 10 October 2012