Physiological role of metalloproteinases during pregnancy

Bruno Zavan, Évila da Silva Lopes Salles, Renato de Oliveira Horvath, Andrea do Amarante-Paffaro, Valdemar Antonio Paffaro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The degradation of proteins and connective tissue from extracellular matrix can be a crucial event for tissues in intense remodeling process, with proteases as mediators called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Pregnancy is a very peculiar event in which the uterus undergoes intense morphophysiological modifications, especially related to vascular remodeling and angiogenesis, as well as trophoblast invasion, which occurs in early pregnancy period until reaching maternal spiral arteries and replacing the endothelium forming the endovascular-trophoblast. Such vascular modifications ensure the high-flow and low-pressure blood supply to the developing fetus, which in turn requires more and more space, causing the uterus to become enlarged and distended. In this context, an orchestrated regulation of MMPs and their endogenous inhibitors - such as tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP) - are essential for proper gestational development. The disordered uteroplacental remodeling is associated with several obstetric complications, such as placenta accreta, fetal growth restriction, abortion, preterm delivery and pre-eclampsia. Studies of MMPs involved in the uterine remodeling process and their relationship to local maternal immune cells, as well as fetal trophoblastic cells, still represent a very promising field of research, since the elucidation of the involved processes can boost the development of strategies to prevent complications in woman's health, obstetrics and for consequences in offspring adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Closer Look at Metalloproteinases
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781536165272
ISBN (Print)9781536165173
StatePublished - Oct 9 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterine remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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