Leukocyte Calpain Deficiency Reduces Angiotensin II-Induced Inflammation and Atherosclerosis But Not Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms in Mice.


OBJECTIVE Angiotensin II (AngII) infusion profoundly increases activity of calpains, calcium-dependent neutral cysteine proteases, in mice. Pharmacological inhibition of calpains attenuates AngII-induced aortic medial macrophage accumulation, atherosclerosis, and abdominal aortic aneurysm in mice. However, the precise functional contribution of leukocyte-derived calpains in AngII-induced vascular pathologies has not been determined. The purpose of this study was to determine whether calpains expressed in bone marrow (BM)-derived cells contribute to AngII-induced atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysms in hypercholesterolemic mice. APPROACH AND RESULTS To study whether leukocyte calpains contributed to AngII-induced aortic pathologies, irradiated male low-density lipoprotein receptor(-/-) mice were repopulated with BM-derived cells that were either wild-type or overexpressed calpastatin, the endogenous inhibitor of calpains. Mice were fed a fat-enriched diet and infused with AngII (1000 ng/kg per minute) for 4 weeks. Overexpression of calpastatin in BM-derived cells significantly attenuated AngII-induced atherosclerotic lesion formation in aortic arches, but had no effect on aneurysm formation. Using either BM-derived cells from calpain-1-deficient mice or mice with leukocyte-specific calpain-2 deficiency generated using cre-loxP recombination technology, further studies demonstrated that independent deficiency of either calpain-1 or -2 in leukocytes modestly attenuated AngII-induced atherosclerosis. Calpastatin overexpression significantly attenuated AngII-induced inflammatory responses in macrophages and spleen. Furthermore, calpain inhibition suppressed migration and adhesion of macrophages to endothelial cells in vitro. Calpain inhibition also significantly decreased hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis in the absence of AngII. CONCLUSIONS The present study demonstrates a pivotal role for BM-derived calpains in mediating AngII-induced atherosclerosis by influencing macrophage function.

DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.307285

11 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@article{Howatt2016LeukocyteCD, title={Leukocyte Calpain Deficiency Reduces Angiotensin II-Induced Inflammation and Atherosclerosis But Not Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms in Mice.}, author={Deborah A . Howatt and Anju Balakrishnan and Jessica J. Moorleghen and Latha Muniappan and Debra L. Rateri and Haruhito Adam Uchida and Jiro Takano and Takaomi C Saido and Athar H Chishti and Laurent Baud and Venkateswaran Subramanian}, journal={Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology}, year={2016}, volume={36 5}, pages={835-45} }