ADAMTS-13, a member of the family of disintegrins and metalloproteinases with thrombospondin motifs, is produced primarily in the liver, particularly by hepatic stellate cells. This metalloproteinase cleaves von Willebrand factor multimers and thereby regulates blood coagulation. Here, we investigated the expression of ADAMTS-13 in the central nervous system. ADAMTS-13 mRNA was expressed in cultured astrocytes and microglia but not in neurons. The protein production of ADAMTS-13 was also detected in these cultured glial cells. Furthermore, we found that the expression of ADAMTS-13 was significantly increased in the rat spinal cord after injury. Supporting the in vivo data, ADAMTS-13 protein was detected in GFAP- and CD11b-positive glial cells in injured spinal cord. Consistent with this, the proteolytic activity of ADAMTS-13 was increased after spinal cord injury. Our data suggest that ADAMTS-13 may have a critical role in the central nervous system, particularly after neuronal injuries.
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