What are matrix metalloproteinases and how are they linked to Dupuytren’s? Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are naturally occuring enzymes whose name describes them: they are found outside cells in the extracellular matrix, their molecular makeup includes a metal (Zinc) and they break down proteins. Human collagenase, which breaks down collagen, is in this group, and Dupuytren’s may be due to an imbalance between the body’s MMPs and tissue factors which block MMPs. Some cancers spread faster because they produce these enzymes, like flesh eating bacteria, which speeds up how fast they spread. Medicines which block these enzymes help fight these types of tumors. Unfortunately, a side effect of one of these medicines is activating both Dupuytren’s and its sibling, frozen shoulder, as detailed in this report: http://www.dupuytrenfoundation.org/DupPDFs/1998_Hutchinson_1085.pdf. This brings up many questions: Other substances also block MMPs, like the antibiotic doxycycline – do they provoke Dupuytren’s? If Dupuytren’s is a natural resistance to MMPs, does having Dupuytren’s give a resistance to some types of cancer? So many dots to connect on the way to a cure.
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