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Kumar, Santhosh V. R.; Darisipudi, Murthy N.; Steiger, Stefanie; Devarapu, Satish Kumar; Tato, Maia; Kukarni, Onkar P.; Mulay, Shrikant R.; Thomasova, Dana; Popper, Bastian; Demleitner, Jana; Zuchtriegel, Gabriele; Reichel, Christoph; Cohen, Clemens D.; Lindenmeyer, Maja T.; Liapis, Helen; Moll, Solange; Reid, Emma; Stitt, Alan W.; Schott, Brigitte; Gruner, Sabine; Haap, Wolfgang; Ebeling, Martin; Hartmann, Guido; Anders, Hans-Joachim (2016): Cathepsin S Cleavage of Protease-Activated Receptor-2 on Endothelial Cells Promotes Microvascular Diabetes Complications. In: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Vol. 27, No. 6: pp. 1635-1649
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Abstract

Endothelial dysfunction is a central pathomechanism in diabetes-associated complications. We hypothesized a pathogenic role in this dysfunction of cathepsin S (Cat-S), a cysteine protease that degrades elastic fibers and activates the protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) on endothelial cells. We found that injection of mice with recombinant Cat-S induced albuminuria and glomerular endothelial cell injury in a PAR2-dependent manner. In vivo microscopy confirmed a role for intrinsic Cat-S/PAR2 in ischemia induced microvascular permeability. In vitro transcriptome analysis and experiments using siRNA or specific Cat-S and PAR2 antagonists revealed that Cat-S specifically impaired the integrity and barrier function of glomerular endothelial cells selectively through PAR2. In human and mouse type 2 diabetic nephropathy, only CD68(+) intrarenal monocytes expressed Cat-S mRNA, whereas Cat-S protein was present along endothelial cells and inside proximal tubular epithelial cells also. In contrast, the cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C was expressed only in tubules. Delayed treatment of type 2 diabetic db/db mice with Cat-S or PAR2 inhibitors attenuated albuminuria and glomerulosclerosis (indicators of diabetic nephropathy) and attenuated albumin leakage into the retina and other structural markers of diabetic retinopathy. These data identify Cat-S as a monocyte/macrophage derived circulating PAR2 agonist and mediator of endothelial dysfunction related microvascular diabetes complications. Thus, Cat-S or PAR2 inhibition might be a novel strategy to prevent microvascular disease in diabetes and other diseases.