Research ArticleFibrosis

Calpain 9 as a therapeutic target in TGFβ-induced mesenchymal transition and fibrosis

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Science Translational Medicine  17 Jul 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 501, eaau2814
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau2814

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Counteracting calpain

During fibrosis, myofibroblasts produce extracellular matrix that accumulates and impairs tissue function. Kim et al. found that transforming growth factor–β induced translation of calpain 9, a cysteine protease, which mediated myofibroblast differentiation. Mice lacking calpain 9 were protected from experimentally induced fibrosis in the heart, lung, and liver. The authors identified a common calpain 9 loss-of-function mutation in people that was not associated with markers of intolerance. This study suggests that targeting calpain 9 could have therapeutic potential for inhibiting fibrosis.

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