The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the noncellular component critical in the maintenance of organ structure and the regulation of tissue development, organ structure, and cellular signaling. The ECM is a dynamic entity that undergoes continuous degradation and resynthesis. In addition to compromising structure, degradation of the ECM can liberate bioactive fragments that cause cellular activation and chemotaxis of a variety of cells. These fragments are termed matrikines, and their cellular activities are sentinel in the development and progression of tissue injury seen in chronic lung disease. Here, we discuss the matrikines that are known to be active in lung biology and their roles in lung disease. We also consider the use of matrikines as disease markers and potential therapeutic targets in lung disease.
Amit Gaggar, Nathaniel Weathington