R. de Nooijer
J.H. von der Thüsen
P.J. van Santbrink
S.H. van Heiningen
E.E. van der Wall
T.J.C. van Berkel
- Leukocyte cathepsin S is a potent regulator of both cell and matrix turnover in advanced atherosclerosis
- Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology
- Volume | Issue number
- 29 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
OBJECTIVE: A dysbalance of proteases and their inhibitors is instrumental in remodeling of atherosclerotic plaques. One of the proteases implicated in matrix degradation is cathepsin-S (CatS). To address its role in advanced lesion composition, we generated chimeric LDLr(-/-) mice deficient in leukocyte CatS by transplantation with CatS(-/-)xLDLr(-/-) or with LDLr(-/-) bone marrow and administered a high-fat diet.
METHODS AND RESULTS: No difference in aortic root lesion size could be detected between CatS(+/+) and CatS(-/-) chimeras. However, leukocyte CatS deficiency markedly changed plaque morphology and led to a dramatic reduction in necrotic core area by 77% and an abundance of large foam cells. Plaques of CatS(-/-) chimeras contained 17% more macrophages, 62% less SMCs, and 33% less intimal collagen. The latter two could be explained by a reduced number of elastic lamina fractures. Moreover, macrophage apoptosis was reduced by 60% with CatS deficiency. In vitro, CatS was found to be involved in cholesterol metabolism and in macrophage apoptosis in a collagen and fibronectin matrix.
CONCLUSION: Leukocyte CatS deficiency results in considerably altered plaque morphology, with smaller necrotic cores, reduced apoptosis, and decreased SMC content and collagen deposition and may thus be critical in plaque stability.
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