Cathepsin K Deficiency Prevents the Aggravated Vascular Remodeling Response to Flow Cessation in ApoE(-/-) Mice

Marjo M. P. C. Donners, Lili Bai, Suzanne Lutgens, Erwin Wijnands, Jason Johnson, Leon J. Schurgers, Cong-Lin Liu, Mattias Daemen, Kitty B. J. M. Cleutjens, Guo-Ping Shi, Erik A. L. Biessen, Sylvia Heeneman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cathepsin K (catK) is a potent lysosomal cysteine protease involved in extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation and inflammatory remodeling responses. Here we have investigated the contribution of catK deficiency on carotid arterial remodeling in response to flow cessation in apoE(-/-) and wild type (wt) background. Ligation-induced hyperplasia is considerably aggravated in apoE(-/-) versus wt mice. CatK protein expression was significantly increased in neointimal lesions of apoE(-/-) compared with wt mice, suggesting a role for catK in intimal hyperplasia under hyperlipidemic conditions. Surprisingly, CatK deficiency completely blunted the augmented hyperplastic response to flow cessation in apoE(-/-), whereas vascular remodeling in wt mice was unaffected. As catK deficiency did neither alter lesion collagen content and elastic laminae fragmentation in vivo, we focused on effects of catK on (systemic) inflammatory responses. CatK deficiency significantly reduced circulating CD3 T-cell numbers, but increased the regulatory T cell subset in apoE(-/-) but not wt mice. Moreover, catK deficiency changed CD11b+Ly6G-Ly6C (high) monocyte distribution in apoE(-/-) but not wt mice and tended to favour macrophage M2a polarization. In conclusion, catK deficiency almost completely blunted the increased vascular remodeling response of apoE(-)/(-) mice to flow cessation, possibly by correcting hyperlipidemia-associated pro-inflammatory effects on the peripheral immune response.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162595
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2016


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