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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Jul 20;96(15):8669-74.

Medin: an integral fragment of aortic smooth muscle cell-produced lactadherin forms the most common human amyloid.

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Division of Molecular and Immunological Pathology and Cell Biology, Linköping University, S-581 85 Linköping, Sweden.


Aortic medial amyloid is a form of localized amyloid that occurs in virtually all individuals older than 60 years. The importance and impact of the amyloid deposits are unknown. In this study we have purified a 5.5-kDa aortic medial amyloid component, by size-exclusion chromatography and RP-HPLC, from three individuals, and we have shown by amino acid sequence analysis that the amyloid is derived from an integral proteolytic fragment of lactadherin. Lactadherin is a 364-aa glycoprotein, previously known to be expressed by mammary epithelial cells as a cell surface protein and secreted as part of the milk fat globule membrane. The multidomain protein has a C-terminal domain showing homology to blood coagulation factors V and VIII. We found that the main constituent of aortic medial amyloid is a 50-aa-long peptide, here called medin, that is positioned within the coagulation factor-like domain of lactadherin. Our result is supported by the specific labeling of aortic medial amyloid in light and electron microscopy with two rabbit antisera raised against two synthetic peptides corresponding to different parts of medin. By using in situ hybridization we have shown that lactadherin is expressed by aortic medial smooth muscle cells. Furthermore, one of the synthetic peptides forms amyloid-like fibrils in vitro. Lactadherin was not previously known to be an amyloid precursor protein or to be expressed in aortic tissue. The structure of lactadherin may implicate an important regulatory function in the aorta.

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