Therapeutic Targeting of MT1-MMP Protein May Help Halt IBD Progression, Study Suggests

Therapeutic Targeting of MT1-MMP Protein May Help Halt IBD Progression, Study Suggests
The membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) protein may be a promising therapeutic target for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — possibly targeting the disease in its early stages, a study in mice suggests. Researchers found that inhibiting this protein decreased the formation of new blood vessels, which in turn reduced gut inflammation and disease severity. The study, “Endothelial MT1-MMP targeting limits intussusceptive angiogenesis and colitis via TSP1/nitric oxide axis,” was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. During intestinal inflammation, there is an increase in the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. This process, called angiogenesis, is thought to promote disease progression. However, the mechanisms underlying angiogenesis in IBD remain poorly understood. To learn more, a group of researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) and the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), both in Spain, investigated the mechanism underlying the blood vessel formation process intussusceptive angiogenesis, more simply called angiogenesis. In this process, tiny blood vessels called capillaries expand and split, creating new vessels. The team focused on an enzyme, or specialized protein called MT1-MMP that is found on endothelial cells, which are those cells lining the interior of blood vessels. The enzyme is responsible for vessels created during angiogenesis, and its levels are increased in inflammatory conditions. The researchers used mice that were treated with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce colitis. This is one of the most common methods of establishing a mouse model of IBD. The treatment induced angiogenesis and increased the levels of MT1-MMP in the endothelial c
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