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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 187873, 11 pages
Research Article

Inhibition of Cathepsin S Produces Neuroprotective Effects after Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice

1Department of Neurosurgery, Jinling Hospital, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, 305 East Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210002, China
2Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Received 25 June 2013; Revised 16 August 2013; Accepted 4 September 2013

Academic Editor: Alex Kleinjan

Copyright © 2013 Jianguo Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cathepsin S (CatS) is a cysteine protease normally present in lysosomes. It has long been regarded as an enzyme that is primarily involved in general protein degradation. More recently, mounting evidence has shown that it is involved in Alzheimer disease, seizures, age-related inflammatory processes, and neuropathic pain. In this study, we investigated the time course of CatS protein and mRNA expression and the cellular distribution of CatS in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury (TBI). To clarify the roles of CatS in TBI, we injected the mice intraventricularly with LHVS, a nonbrain penetrant, irreversible CatS inhibitor, and examined the effect on inflammation and neurobehavioral function. We found that expression of CatS was increased as early as 1 h after TBI at both protein and mRNA levels. The increased expression was detected in microglia and neurons. Inhibition of CatS significantly reduced the level of TBI-induced inflammatory factors in brain tissue and alleviated brain edema. Additionally, administration of LHVS led to a decrease in neuronal degeneration and improved neurobehavioral function. These results imply that CatS is involved in the secondary injury after TBI and provide a new perspective for preventing secondary injury after TBI.