The imbalance of cathepsin B-like activity in acromegalic patients--preliminary report.

OBJECTIVE: Acromegaly is a rare disease due to growth hormone (GH) excess. Patients must be carefully follow up because of mortality and co-morbidity increased risks. Since routinely used GH and insulin-like growth factor-1(IGF-1) estimations are not always sufficient, patients require assessment of organ- or tissue-specific tests. Cysteine proteases (CP), including cathepsin B, have been tested in a number of pathologies in respect of a role in pathogenesis and potential utility in the disease activity and prognosis assessment. There is lack of data on CP activity in acromegaly.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In present study cathepsin B-like and cysteine peptidase inhibitor (CPI) activities have been tested in 29 acromegaly patients and in 15 healthy controls. Cathepsin B activity was assayed with N-bansoyl-DL-arginine-beta-naphthylamide (BANA) as substrate by the Barrett method. CPI activity was determined by measuring the inhibition of papain.

RESULTS: Serum cathepsin B activity (median: 1.38 U/ml) and CPI activity (median: 93.08 U/ml) were higher in acromegaly then in controls (0.93 U/ml and 82.55 U/ml, p=0.000017 and 0.00285, respectively). Neither cathepsin B nor CPI activity was correlated with GH or IGF-1 level. No correlation was recorded between cathepsin B and CPI activity.

CONCLUSION: It was shown for the first time that cathepsin B and CPI activities are increased in acromegaly. These findings suggest to study cathepsin system as an adjuvant parameter in the assessment of the overall acromegaly complications. Moreover, CP may be involved in pathomechanism of organ complications in acromegaly and may interfere with IGF-1 action.

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