SEVERAL types of hormonal or mechanical stimuli may cause cardiac hypertrophy. In many instances, when the stimulus is removed the heart rapidly regresses toward its original size. The cellular mechanism(s) by which this net cardiac catabolism and reduction of myocardial protein mass might be mediated have not been defined. One possibility might be an increase in the activity of intracellular proteolytic enzymes; accordingly, we have investigated the activity of cathepsin D, a lysosomal enzyme that is the major acid proteinase in the heart.
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