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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2012 Jan;59(1):66-76. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e318235d5ea.

Calpain inhibition attenuates angiotensin II-induced abdominal aortic aneurysms and atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice.

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Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0509, USA.


Chronic infusion of angiotensin II (AngII) augments atherosclerosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation in hypercholesterolemic mice. AngII-induced AAAs are associated with medial macrophage accumulation and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activation. Inhibition of calpain, a calcium-activated neutral cysteine protease, by overexpression of its endogenous inhibitor, calpastatin, attenuates AngII-induced leukocyte infiltration, perivascular inflammation, and MMP activation in mice. The purpose of this study was to define whether pharmacological inhibition of calpain influences AngII-induced AAAs in hypercholesterolemic mice. Male low-density lipoprotein receptor-/- mice were fed a fat-enriched diet and administered with either vehicle or a calpain-specific inhibitor, BDA-410 (30 mg/kg per day) for 5 weeks. After 1 week of feeding, mice were infused with AngII (1000 ng/kg per minute) for 4 weeks. AngII-infusion profoundly increased aortic calpain protein and activity. BDA-410 administration had no effect on plasma cholesterol concentrations or AngII-increased systolic blood pressure. Calpain inhibition significantly attenuated AngII-induced AAA formation and atherosclerosis development. BDA-410 administration attenuated activation of MMP12, proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1), and macrophage infiltration into the aorta. BDA-410 administration significantly attenuated thioglycolate-elicited macrophage accumulation in the peritoneal cavity. We conclude that calpain inhibition using BDA-410 attenuated AngII-induced AAA formation and atherosclerosis development in low-density lipoprotein receptor-/- mice.

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