Collagenases are enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen.
They assist in destroying extracellular structures in pathogenesis of bacteria such as Clostridium. They are an exotoxin (a virulence factor) and help to facilitate the spread of gas gangrene. They normally target the connective tissue in muscle cells and other body organs.
Collagen, a key component of the animal extracellular matrix, is made through cleavage of pro-collagen by collagenase once it has been secreted from the cell. This stops large structures from forming inside the cell itself.
Collagenase production can be induced during an immune response, by cytokines that stimulate cells such as fibroblasts and osteoblasts, and cause indirect tissue damage.
Collagenases have been approved for medical uses for
Collagenases and Peyronie's disease
Collagenase remains an investigational drug for the treatment of Peyronie's disease.  It has presented a documented efficiency in reducing the size of plaques or in some cases eliminating them.
- ^ Gerard J. Tortora, Berdell R. Funke, Cristine L. Case (2007). Microbiology: an introduction. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 0-321-39603-0.
- ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1501117/
- ^ http://www.peyronies.org/pages/treatment.htm
- ^ http://www.andrologyjournal.org/cgi/content/full/30/4/397