Matrix modulation and heart failure: new concepts question old beliefs

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Purpose of reviewMyocardial remodeling is a complex process involving several molecular and cellular factors. Extracellular matrix has been implicated in the remodeling process. Historically, the myocardial extracellular matrix was thought to serve solely as a means to align cells and provide structure to the tissue. Although this is one of its important functions, evidence suggests that the extracellular matrix plays a complex and divergent role in influencing cell behavior. This paper characterizes some of the notable studies on this dynamic entity and on adverse myocardial remodeling that have been published over the past year, which further question the belief that the extracellular matrix is a static structure.Recent findingsProgress has been made in understanding how the extracellular matrix is operative in the three major conditions (myocardial infarction, left ventricular hypertrophy due to overload, and dilated cardiomyopathy) that involve myocardial remodeling. Several studies have examined plasma profiles of matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases following myocardial infarction and during left ventricular hypertrophy as surrogate markers of remodeling/remodeled myocardium. It has been demonstrated that bioactive signaling molecules and growth factors, proteases, and structural proteins influence cell-matrix interactions in the context of left ventricular hypertrophy. Finally, studies that either removed or added tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases species in the myocardium demonstrated the importance of this regulatory protein in the remodeling process.SummaryUnderstanding the cellular and molecular triggers that in turn give rise to changes in the extracellular matrix could provide opportunities to modify the remodeling process.

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