Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1999 Apr;20(4):612-9.

Expression of cathepsin K in lung epithelial cells.

Author information

Institute of Immunology, Institute of Pathology, Department of Pneumology and Critical Care, Magdeburg, Germany.


Alveolar and bronchial epithelial cells have been shown to have regulatory functions in the maintenance of lung structure and function. Recent evidence supports the premise that these cells can synthesize a variety of extracellular matrix components in vitro, suggesting an active participation in connective tissue remodeling. Their possible role in extracellular matrix degradation, however, is less clear. This study addresses the question of whether alveolar and bronchial epithelial cells express the highly collagenolytic and elastinolytic cysteine proteinase cathepsin K, which has recently been newly described. We provide evidence that the epithelial cell lines A549 and BEAS-2B are capable of expressing cathepsin K messenger RNA. Furthermore, we show that cathepsin K is expressed in normal bronchial epithelial cells. Western blot analyses of human lung-tissue lysates revealed specific immunoreactivity at molecular weights of 46 and 27 kD, corresponding to the procathepsin and the mature cathepsin K. Immunohistochemical analyses showed a pronounced staining of bronchial epithelial cells and in single alveolar epithelial cells. Using a specific fluorogenic cytochemical assay, the intracellular activity of the enzyme was localized. These findings demonstrate that bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells are capable of expressing cathepsin K, which could be of considerable importance for remodeling processes of the extracellular matrix in the lung.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center