Extracellular proteases in atherosclerosis and restenosis

Arturo Garcia-Touchard, Timothy D. Henry, Giuseppe Sangiorgi, Luigi Giusto Spagnoli, Alessandro Mauriello, Cheryl Conover, Robert S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Extracellular proteolysis plays a key role in many pathophysiologic processes including cancer, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis and restenosis. Whereas matrix metalloproteinases are their best known member, many others are becoming better known. The extracellular proteases are a complex and heterogeneous superfamily of enzymes. They include metalloproteinases (matrix metalloproteinases, adamalysins, or pappalysins), serine proteases (elastase, coagulation factors, plasmin, tissue plasminogen activator, urokinase plasminogen activator), and the cysteine proteases (such cathepsins). In addition to their matrix degradation capabilities, they have other less well known biologic functions that include angiogenesis, growth factor bioavailability, cytokine modulation, receptor shedding, enhancing cell migration, proliferation, invasion, and apoptosis. This review discusses extracellular proteases relevant to the vasculature, their classification and function, and how protease disorders contribute to arterial plaque growth, including chronic atherosclerosis, acute coronary syndromes, restenosis, and vascular remodeling. These broad extracellular protease functions make them potentially interesting therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1127
Number of pages9
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Aneurysms
  • Athersclerosis
  • Proteases
  • Restenosis


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