The Metalloproteases Meprin
α and β: Pathophysiological Roles in Inflammation, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Fibrosis
The metalloproteases meprin α and β exhibit unique functions in health and disease. Belonging to the metzincin superfamily, the meprins are two out of seven astacin zinc-endopeptidases in humans, representing the largest secreted protease known (oligomerized meprin α) and the only membrane-bound family member (meprin β).
Meprins activate or release growth factors (e.g. IL-1β, IL-18, TGFα, and VEGF-A) and other biologically active peptides, and are involved in inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
For example, the meprin inhibitor actinonin, a naturally occurring hydroxamate derivate, has been shown to be protective against acute renal failure, a pathology strongly related to meprin activity.