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Tuberculosis (TB) remains the single biggest infectious cause of death globally, claiming almost two million lives and causing disease in over 10 million individuals annually. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of proteolytic enzymes with various physiological roles implicated as key factors contributing to the spread of TB. They are involved in the breakdown of lung extracellular matrix and the consequent release of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli into the airways. Evidence demonstrates that MMPs also play a role in central nervous system (CNS) tuberculosis, as they contribute to the breakdown of the blood brain barrier and are associated with poor outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis (TBM). However, in pediatric TBM, data indicate that MMPs may play a role in both pathology and recovery of the developing brain. MMPs also have a significant role in HIV-TB-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in the lungs and the brain, and their modulation offers potential novel therapeutic avenues. This is a review of recent research on MMPs in pulmonary and CNS TB in adults and children and in the context of co-infection with HIV. We summarize different methods of MMP investigation and discuss the translational implications of MMP inhibition to reduce immunopathology.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Mol Sci

Publication Date





HIV-TB-associated IRIS, adult, central nervous system, extracellular matrix breakdown, lung, matrix metalloproteinases, pediatric, tuberculosis, tuberculous meningitis, Biomarkers, Humans, Matrix Metalloproteinases, Models, Biological, Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System, Tuberculosis, Meningeal, Tuberculosis, Pulmonary