Osteoclast-like cells in aneurysmal disease exhibit an enhanced proteolytic phenotype

Matthew J. Kelly, Kimihiro Igari, Dai Yamanouchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is among the top 20 causes of death in the United States. Surgical repair is the gold standard for AAA treatment, therefore, there is a need for non-invasive therapeutic interventions. Aneurysms are more closely associated with the osteoclast-like catabolic degradation of the artery, rather than the osteoblast-like anabolic processes of arterial calcification. We have reported the presence of osteoclast-like cells (OLCs) in human and mouse aneurysmal tissues. The aim of this study was to examine OLCs from aneurysmal tissues as a source of degenerative proteases. Aneurysmal and control tissues from humans, and from the mouse CaPO4 and angiotensin II (AngII) disease models, were analyzed via flow cytometry and immunofluorescence for the expression of osteoclast markers. We found higher expression of the osteoclast markers tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and cathepsin K, and the signaling molecule, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), in aneurysmal tissue compared to controls. Aneurysmal tissues also contained more OLCs than controls. Additionally, more OLCs from aneurysms express HIF-1α, and produce more MMP-9 and cathepsin K, than myeloid cells from the same tissue. These data indicate that OLCs are a significant source of proteases known to be involved in aortic degradation, in which the HIF-1α signaling pathway may play an important role. Our findings suggest that OLCs may be an attractive target for non-surgical suppression of aneurysm formation due to their expression of degradative proteases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4689
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 01-10-2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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