Article

Cathepsin cysteine proteases in cardiovascular disease

Department of Pathology , Maastricht University, Maestricht, Limburg, Netherlands
The FASEB Journal (Impact Factor: 5.48). 11/2007; 21(12):3029-41. DOI: 10.1096/fj.06-7924com
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling is one of the underlying mechanisms in cardiovascular diseases. Cathepsin cysteine proteases have a central role in ECM remodeling and have been implicated in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. Cathepsins also show differential expression in various stages of atherosclerosis, and in vivo knockout studies revealed that deficiency of cathepsin K or S reduces atherosclerosis. Furthermore, cathepsins are involved in lipid metabolism. Cathepsins have the capability to degrade low-density lipoprotein and reduce cholesterol efflux from macrophages, aggravating foam cell formation. Although expression studies also demonstrated differential expression of cathepsins in cardiovascular diseases like aneurysm formation, neointima formation, and neovascularization, in vivo studies to define the exact role of cathepsins in these processes are lacking. Evaluation of the feasibility of cathepsins as a diagnostic tool revealed that serum levels of cathepsins L and S seem to be promising as biomarkers in the diagnosis of atherosclerosis, whereas cathepsin B shows potential as an imaging tool. Furthermore, cathepsin K and S inhibitors showed effectiveness in (pre) clinical evaluation for the treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, suggesting that cathepsin inhibitors may also have therapeutic effects for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

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