Multitasking enzyme for asthma

The enzyme MMP-8 goes by several names: matrix metalloproteinase-8, neutrophil collagenase and PMNL collagenase. It is well known to biomedical research for its role in the breakdown of extracellular matrixin during normal physiological processes, such as embryonic development, reproduction, and tissue remodeling. It also known to play a part in disease processes, such as arthritis and metastases. Now, a team at the University of Cambridge working with industrial colleagues have identified another role for the enzyme in the body. The enzyme can disable the immune molecule interleukin-13, IL-13, which is known to play an important role in several inflammatory diseases. The discovery could have implications for treating respiratory disorders, such as asthma and dermatitis.