MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases that degrade both matrix and non-matrix proteins. They play an important role in morphogenesis, and in a wide range of processes including tissue repair and remodelling. Their abnormal expression contributes to pathological processes including arthritis, cancer, and cardiac and central nervous system diseases, which explains the large interest in finding specific MMP inhibitors for therapeutic use. In this review we describe the structural features of MMPs, with special emphasis on their interaction with specific inhibitors. The effect of new, hydroxamatebased inhibitors on MMP isolated from bovine brain is evaluated.

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