Here, we demonstrate that ADAMTS9, a highly conserved versican-degrading protease, is required for correct cardiovascular development and adult homeostasis. Analysis of Adamts9(+/LacZ) adult mice revealed anomalies in the aortic wall, valvulosinus and valve leaflets. Abnormal myocardial projections and 'spongy' myocardium consistent with non-compaction of the left ventricle were also found in Adamts9(+/LacZ) mice. During development, Adamts9 was expressed in derivatives of the Secondary Heart Field, vascular smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall, mesenchymal cells of the valves, and non-myocardial cells of the ventricles, but expression also continued in the adult heart and ascending aorta. Thus, the adult cardiovascular anomalies found in Adamts9(+/LacZ) hearts could result from subtle developmental alterations in extracellular matrix remodeling or defects in adult homeostasis. The valvular and aortic anomalies of Adamts9(+/LacZ) hearts were associated with accumulation of versican and a decrease in cleaved versican relative to WT littermates. These data suggest a potentially important role for ADAMTS9 cleavage of versican, or other, as yet undefined substrates in development and allostasis of cardiovascular extracellular matrix. In addition, these studies identify ADAMTS9 as a potential candidate gene for congenital cardiac anomalies. Mouse models of ADAMTS9 deficiency may be useful to study myxomatous valve degeneration.
Copyright 2010 International Society of Matrix Biology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.