Lack of cathepsin activities alter or prevent the development of lung granulomas in a mouse model of sarcoidosis
1 Department of Oral Biological and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2 Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research, Kirkland, QC, Canada
Respiratory Research 2011, 12:13 doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-13Published: 20 January 2011
Remodeling of lung tissues during the process of granuloma formation requires significant restructuring of the extra-cellular matrix and cathepsins K, L and S are among the strongest extra-cellular matrix degrading enzymes. Cathepsin K is highly expressed in various pathological granulomatous infiltrates and all three enzymes in their active form are detected in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from patients with sarcoidosis. Granulomatous inflammation is driven by T-cell response and cathepsins S and L are actively involved in the regulation of antigen presentation and T-cell selection. Here, we show that the disruption of the activities of cathepsins K, L, or S affects the development of lung granulomas in a mouse model of sarcoidosis.
Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice lacking cathepsin K or L were fed Paigen diet for 16 weeks and lungs were analyzed and compared with their cathepsin-expressing littermates. The role of cathepsin S in the development of granulomas was evaluated using mice treated for 8 weeks with a potent and selective cathepsin S inhibitor.
When compared to wild-type litters, more cathepsin K-deficient mice had lung granulomas, but individually affected mice developed smaller granulomas that were present in lower numbers. The absence of cathepsin K increased the number of multinucleated giant cells and the collagen content in granulomas. Cathepsin L deficiency resulted in decreased size and number of lung granulomas. Apoe-/- mice treated with a selective cathepsin S inhibitor did not develop lung granulomas and only individual epithelioid cells were observed.
Cathepsin K deficiency affected mostly the occurrence and composition of lung granulomas, whereas cathepsin L deficiency significantly reduced their number and cathepsin S inhibition prevented the formation of granulomas.