LRP1 Protects the Vasculature by Regulating Levels of Connective Tissue Growth Factor and HtrA1
Objective—Low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 1 (LRP1) is a large endocytic and signaling receptor that is abundant in vascular smooth muscle cells. Mice in which the lrp1 gene is deleted in smooth muscle cells (smLRP1−/−) on a low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient background display excessive PDGF-signaling, smooth muscle cells proliferation, aneurysm formation, and increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis. The objectives of the current study were to examine the potential of LRP1 to modulate vascular physiology under nonatherogenic conditions.
Approach and Results—We found smLRP1−/− mice to have extensive in vivo aortic dilatation accompanied by disorganized and degraded elastic lamina along with medial thickening of the arterial vessels resulting from excess matrix deposition. Surprisingly, this was not attributable to excessive PDGF-signaling. Rather, quantitative differential proteomic analysis revealed that smLRP1−/− vessels contain a 4-fold increase in protein levels of high-temperature requirement factor A1 (HtrA1), which is a secreted serine protease that is known to degrade matrix components and to impair elastogenesis, resulting in fragmentation of elastic fibers. Importantly, our study discovered that HtrA1 is a novel LRP1 ligand. Proteomics analysis also identified excessive accumulation of connective tissue growth factor, an LRP1 ligand and a key mediator of fibrosis.
Conclusions—Our findings suggest a critical role for LRP1 in maintaining the integrity of vessels by regulating protease activity as well as matrix deposition by modulating HtrA1 and connective tissue growth factor protein levels. This study highlights 2 new molecules, connective tissue growth factor and HtrA1, which contribute to detrimental changes in the vasculature and, therefore, represent new target molecules for potential therapeutic intervention to maintain vessel wall homeostasis.
- Received January 14, 2013.
- Accepted June 24, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.