Cathepsin-k expression in pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis

Department of Pathology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
Modern Pathology (Impact Factor: 6.19). 02/2009; 22(2):161-6. DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.2008.189
Source: PubMed


Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is a rare and progressive lung cystic disease, caused by the infiltration of lung parenchyma by mesenchymal cells characterized by co-expression of contractile proteins and melanocytic markers. The pathogenesis of lymphangioleiomyomatosis is determined by mutations affecting tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes, with eventual deregulation of the Rheb/mTOR/p70S6K pathway, and the potential therapeutic activity of mTOR inhibitors is currently under investigation. To better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of lymphangioleiomyomatosis, we investigated the expression of cathepsin-k (a papain-like cysteine protease with high matrix-degrading activity). The rationale of this choice was based on the recent demonstration that mTOR inhibitors can regulate major functional activities of osteoclasts, including the expression of cathepsin-k. The immunohistochemical study included 12 cases of lymphangioleiomyomatosis. Twelve angiomyolipomas and several lung diseases (sarcoidosis, organizing pneumonia, usual interstitial pneumonia, emphysema) were investigated as controls. In all lymphangioleiomyomatosis cases, strong cathepsin-k immunoreactivity was demonstrated, restricted to lymphangioleiomyomatosis cells. Similar expression levels were observed in renal angiomyolipomas. These observations extend the knowledge regarding the immunophenotypic profile of lymphangioleiomyomatosis cells, and provide a useful new marker for diagnosis in difficult cases (eg, in small transbronchial biopsies). The strong expression of such a potent papain-like cysteine protease in lymphangioleiomyomatosis cells can significantly contribute to the progressive remodelling of lung parenchyma observed in this deadly disease, with eventual formation of lung cysts. It is possible to speculate that mTOR inhibitors may exert part of their action by limiting the destructive remodelling of lung structure.

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Available from: Maurizio Pea
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    • "CTSK elicits a protective role during lung matrix homeostasis under physiological and pathological conditions [16], [34]. In addition, CTSK is overexpressed in lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) cells and related renal angiolipomas [17]. Whilst it has yet to be reported in human studies, CTSS is elevated in murine models of allergic asthma and CTSS inhibition is prophylactic to ameliorate airway inflammation [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tumstatin is an anti-angiogenic collagen IV α3 fragment, levels of which are reduced in the airways of asthmatics. Its reduction may be due to the degradation by extracellular matrix (ECM) proteases. Cathepsins play a role in ECM remodelling, with cathepsin D, H and K (CTSD, CTSH and CTSK) being associated with lung diseases. CTSD modulates the NC1 domains of collagen molecules including tumstatin, while CTSH and CTSK are involved in ECM degradation. The role of these cathepsins in the regulation of tumstatin in the lung has not previously been examined. We demonstrated that CTSB, D, F, H, K, L and S mRNA was expressed in the airways. Quantification of immunohistochemistry showed that there is no difference in the global expression of CTSD, CTSH and CTSK between asthmatics and non-asthmatics. CTSD and CTSK, but not CTSH had the capacity to degrade tumstatin. No difference was observed in the activity of CTSD and H in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of asthmatic and non-asthmatics, while CTSK was undetectable. This indicates that while CTSD possesses the potential to directly regulate tumstatin, and thus angiogenesis through this mechanism however, it is not likely to be involved in the dysregulation of tumstatin found in asthmatic airways.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "With successful detection of mature cathepsins K, L, and S in human breast cancer tissue, other types of tumors were investigated to establish broader utility of this assay as a screen for multiple cathepsins in one tissue specimen. Cathepsin K had been previously identified immunohistochemically in lung tumor specimens [31,32], but the active mature enzyme had not been measured. Normal and tumor lung tissue specimens from stages I, II, and III were obtained, and loaded for cathepsin zymography (Figure 5A). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cathepsins K, L, and S are cysteine proteases upregulated in cancer and proteolyze extracellular matrix to facilitate metastasis, but difficulty distinguishing specific cathepsin activity in complex tissue extracts confounds scientific studies and employing them for use in clinical diagnoses. Here, we have developed multiplex cathepsin zymography to profile cathepsins K, L, and S activity in 10 μg human breast, lung, and cervical tumors by exploiting unique electrophoretic mobility and renaturation properties. Frozen breast, lung, and cervix cancer tissue lysates and normal organ tissue lysates from the same human patients were obtained (28 breast tissues, 23 lung tissues, and 23 cervix tissues), minced and homogenized prior to loading for cathepsin gelatin zymography to determine enzymatic activity. Cleared bands of cathepsin activity were identified and validated in tumor extracts and detected organ- and stage-specific differences in activity. Cathepsin K was unique compared to cathepsins L and S. It was significantly higher for all cancers even at the earliest stage tested (stage I for lung and cervix (n = 6, p < .05), and stage II for breast; n = 6, p < .0001). Interestingly, cervical and breast tumor cathepsin activity was highest at the earliest stage we tested, stages I and II, respectively, and then were significantly lower at the latest stages tested (III and IV, respectively) (n = 6, p < 0.01 and p < 0.05), but lung cathepsin activity increased from one stage to the next (n = 6, p < .05). Using cathepsin K as a diagnostic biomarker for breast cancer detected with multiplex zymography, yielded 100% sensitivity and specificity for 20 breast tissue samples tested (10 normal; 10 tumor) in part due to the consistent absence of cathepsin K in normal breast tissue across all patients. To summarize, this sensitive assay provides quantitative outputs of cathepsins K, L, and S activities from mere micrograms of tissue and has potential use as a supplement to histological methods of clinical diagnoses of biopsied human tissue.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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