Emerging roles for the ADAMTS-like family of matricellular proteins in cardiovascular disease through regulation of the extracellular microenvironment

Mol Biol Rep. 2024 Feb 7;51(1):280. doi: 10.1007/s11033-024-09255-5.


Dysregulation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) occurs widely across cardiovascular pathologies. Recent work has revealed important roles for the «a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease domain with thrombospondin-type 1 motifs like" (ADAMTSL) family of secreted glycoproteins in cardiovascular tissues during development and disease. Key insights in this regard have come from naturally occurring gene mutations in humans and animals that result in severe diseases with cardiovascular manifestations or aortopathies. Expression of ADAMTSL genes is greatly increased in the myocardium during heart failure. Genetically modified mice recapitulate phenotypes of patients with ADAMTSL mutations and demonstrate important functions in the ECM. The novel functions thus disclosed are intriguing because, while these proteins are neither structural, nor proteases like the related ADAMTS proteases, they appear to act as regulatory, i.e., matricellular proteins. Evidence from genetic variants, genetically engineered mouse mutants, and in vitro investigations have revealed regulatory functions of ADAMTSLs related to fibrillin microfibrils and growth factor signaling. Interestingly, the ability to regulate transforming growth factor (TGF)β signaling may be a shared characteristic of some ADAMTSLs. TGFβ signaling is important in cardiovascular development, health and disease and a central driver of ECM remodeling and cardiac fibrosis. New strategies to target dysregulated TGFβ signaling are warranted in aortopathies and cardiac fibrosis. With their emerging roles in cardiovascular tissues, the ADAMTSL proteins may provide causative genes, diagnostic biomarkers and novel treatment targets in cardiovascular disease. Here, we discuss the relevance of ADAMTSLs to cardiovascular medicine.

Keywords: Aortic aneurysms; Cardiac fibrosis; Extracellular matrix; Growth factor signaling; Heart failure; Microfibrils.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Mice
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta


  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta