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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2005;15(1-4):109-16.

Down-regulation of calpain 9 is linked to hypertensive heart and kidney disease.

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Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbH, DG Cardiovascular Diseases, Building H825, Industriepark Höchst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Calpains are a family of 14 intracellular calcium-dependent proteases, which have been implicated in cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to analyze specifically the expressional regulation of the different calpain isoforms in hypertensive target organ damage. Using real-time PCR, we found calpain 6 and 9 down-regulated by more than 50% and the endogenous calpain inhibitor calpastatin up-regulated by 225%, respectively, in the hearts of Dahl salt-sensitive rats on a high salt (4% NaCl) compared to normal salt diet. On the protein level, calpain 9 but not calpastatin was regulated in the hypertensive target organs heart and kidney. Moreover, the myocardial expression of calpain 9 protein was inversely linked to left ventricular mass (r= -0.93, p<0.01), and renal expression of calpain 9 protein correlated inversely with albuminuria (r= -0.82, p<0.05). In the aorta, there was no regulation of calpain 9 on the protein level. We conclude that differential regulation of calpain 9 may play a role in hypertensive target organ damage.

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