Introduction: Enzymatic cross-linking of the collagens within the extracellular matrix (ECM) catalyzed by enzymes such as lysyl oxidase (LOX) and lysyl oxidase like-enzymes 1-4 (LOXL), transglutaminase 2 (TG2), and peroxidasin (PXDN) contribute to fibrosis progression through extensive collagen cross-linking. Studies in recent years have begun elucidating the important role of collagen cross-linking in perpetuating progression of organ fibrosis independently of inflammation through an increasingly stiff and noncompliant ECM. Therefore, collagen cross-linking and the cross-linking enzymes have become new targets in anti-fibrotic therapy as well as targets of novel biomarkers to properly assess resolution of the fibrotic ECM.Areas covered: The enzymatic actions of enzymes catalyzing collagen cross-linking and their relevance in organ fibrosis. Potential biomarkers specifically quantifying proteolytic fragments of collagen cross-linking is discussed based on Pubmed search done in November 2020 as well as the authors knowledge.Expert opinion: Current methods for the assessment of fibrosis involve the use of invasive and/or cumbersome and expensive methods such as tissue biopsies. Thus, an unmet need exists for the development and validation of minimally invasive biomarkers of proteolytic fragments of cross-linked collagens. These biomarkers may aid in the development and proper assessment of fibrosis resolution in coming years.
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