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Cathepsin G--induced release of PAI-1 in the culture medium of endothelial cells: a new thrombogenic role for polymorphonuclear leukocytes?

The Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine

metabolism, Cathepsins, Endothelium, Vascular, Extracellular Matrix, Gene Expression, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Neutrophils, Cathepsin G, physiology, Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1, Platelet Aggregation, RNA, Messenger, genetics, Serine Endopeptidases, Thrombosis, etiology, Tissue Plasminogen Activator

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      Activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) may affect the integrity of blood vessels by endothelial cell injury. We investigated the effects of cathepsin G purified from human neutrophils on the fibrinolytic potential of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Cathepsin G (5 and 10 micrograms/ml) induced marked intercellular gap formation after 1 hour of treatment, whereas 1 microgram/ml did not, even after 6 hours incubation. In contrast, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) antigen levels, measured by a double antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, were significantly increased in culture media (CM) on cathepsin G (1 microgram/ml) treatment after 15 minutes (5.1 +/- 1.2 ng/ml vs 2.6 +/- 0.6 ng/ml for controls, p < 0.01) and 6 hours of incubation (69.6 +/- 17.5 ng/ml vs 40.0 +/- 9.0 ng/ml for controls, p < 0.01). Likewise, PAI activity, measured by reverse fibrin autography, increased on cell treatment with cathepsin G. Preincubation of cathepsin G with eglin C (10 micrograms/ml) almost completely abolished the increase in both PAI antigen and activity levels induced by cathepsin G. Cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, did not block cathepsin G-induced PAI-1 release. PAI-1 mRNA levels were not affected by HUVEC treatment with cathepsin G (1 microgram/ml for 15 minutes), even after 24 hours. In the extracellular matrix (ECM) PAI-1 antigen levels decreased to 77% and 40% of controls, respectively, after 15 minutes and 6 hours of cathepsin G (1 micrograms/ml) treatment. Reverse fibrin autography also demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction of PAI activity in the ECM on 6 hours of cell treatment with 1 or 5 micrograms/ml cathepsin G. Moreover, ECM prepared from confluent HUVECs released PAI-1 in supernatants on 1 micrograms/ml cathepsin G incubation in a cell-free system. Tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) activity was strongly depressed on cathepsin G treatment, both in CM from HUVECs or in a cell-free system. Finally, PAI-1 was also released from cathepsin G-stimulated platelets in a dose-dependent manner. In summary, our results support a potentially thrombogenic role of cathepsin G, which could impair the fibrinolytic potential of the endothelium. These data give a new insight into the mechanisms by which activated PMNs may promote thrombus formation. On the other hand, the decrease of PAI-1 in ECM could favor penetration and migration of inflammatory or tumor cells through the subendothelial layers.

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