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BACKGROUND - Vascular dysfunction is commonly seen during severe viral infections. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), has been postulated to play an important role in regulating vascular homeostasis as well as propagation of the inflammatory reaction. We hypothesized that the loss of eNOS would negatively impact toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling and worsen vascular function to viral challenge.
METHODS - Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) were exposed to either control or eNOS siRNA and then treated with Poly I:C, a TLR3 agonist and mimicker of dsRNA viruses. Cells were assessed for protein-protein associations, cytokine and chemokine analysis as well as transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) as a surrogate of permeability.
RESULTS - HMVECs that had reduced eNOS expression had a significantly elevated increase in IL-6, IL-8 and IP-10 production after Poly I:C. In addition, the knockdown of eNOS enhanced the change in TEER after Poly I:C stimulation. Western blot analysis showed enhanced phosphorylation of p38 in sieNOS treated cells with Poly I:C compared to siControl cells. Proximity ligation assays further demonstrated direct eNOS-p38 protein-protein interactions. The addition of the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, in eNOS knockdown cells reduced both cytokine production after Poly I:C, and as well as mitigated the reduction in TEER, suggesting a direct link between eNOS and p38 in TLR3 signaling.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that reduction of eNOS increases TLR3-mediated inflammation in human endothelial cells in a p38-dependent manner. This finding has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of severe viral infections and the associated vascular dysfunction.
Tumor vasculature is known to be more permeable than the vasculature found in healthy tissue, which in turn can lead to a more aggressive tumor phenotype and impair drug delivery into tumors. While the stiffening of the stroma surrounding solid tumors has been reported to increase vascular permeability, the mechanism of this process remains unclear. Here, we utilize an in vitro model of tumor stiffening, ex ovo culture, and a mouse model to investigate the molecular mechanism by which matrix stiffening alters endothelial barrier function. Our data indicate that the increased endothelial permeability caused by heightened matrix stiffness can be prevented by pharmaceutical inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) both in vitro and ex ovo. Matrix stiffness-mediated FAK activation determines Src localization to cell-cell junctions, which then induces increased vascular endothelial cadherin phosphorylation both in vitro and in vivo. Endothelial cells in stiff tumors have more activated Src and higher levels of phosphorylated vascular endothelial cadherin at adherens junctions compared to endothelial cells in more compliant tumors. Altogether, our data indicate that matrix stiffness regulates endothelial barrier integrity through FAK activity, providing one mechanism by which extracellular matrix stiffness regulates endothelial barrier function. Additionally, our work also provides further evidence that FAK is a promising potential target for cancer therapy because FAK plays a critical role in the regulation of endothelial barrier integrity.-Wang, W., Lollis, E. M., Bordeleau, F., Reinhart-King, C. A. Matrix stiffness regulates vascular integrity through focal adhesion kinase activity.
The lung epithelial glycocalyx is a carbohydrate-enriched layer lining the pulmonary epithelial surface. Although epithelial glycocalyx visualization has been reported, its composition and function remain unknown. Using immunofluorescence and mass spectrometry, we identified heparan sulfate (HS) and chondroitin sulfate within the lung epithelial glycocalyx. In vivo selective enzymatic degradation of epithelial HS, but not chondroitin sulfate, increased lung permeability. Using mass spectrometry and gel electrophoresis approaches to determine the fate of epithelial HS during lung injury, we detected shedding of 20 saccharide-long or greater HS into BAL fluid in intratracheal LPS-treated mice. Furthermore, airspace HS in clinical samples from patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome correlated with indices of alveolar permeability, reflecting the clinical relevance of these findings. The length of HS shed during intratracheal LPS-induced injury (≥20 saccharides) suggests cleavage of the proteoglycan anchoring HS to the epithelial surface, rather than cleavage of HS itself. We used pharmacologic and transgenic animal approaches to determine that matrix metalloproteinases partially mediate HS shedding during intratracheal LPS-induced lung injury. Although there was a trend toward decreased alveolar permeability after treatment with the matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, doxycycline, this did not reach statistical significance. These studies suggest that epithelial HS contributes to the lung epithelial barrier and its degradation is sufficient to increase lung permeability. The partial reduction of HS shedding achieved with doxycycline is not sufficient to rescue epithelial barrier function during intratracheal LPS-induced lung injury; however, whether complete attenuation of HS shedding is sufficient to rescue epithelial barrier function remains unknown.
BACKGROUND - Increased endothelial permeability is central to shock and organ dysfunction in sepsis but therapeutics targeted to known mediators of increased endothelial permeability have been unsuccessful in patient studies. We previously reported that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) is elevated in the majority of patients with sepsis and is associated with organ dysfunction, poor clinical outcomes and elevated markers of oxidant injury. Others have shown that Vitamin C (ascorbate) may have endothelial protective effects in sepsis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that high levels of CFH, as seen in the circulation of patients with sepsis, disrupt endothelial barrier integrity.
METHODS - Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were grown to confluence and treated with CFH with or without ascorbate. Monolayer permeability was measured by Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) or transfer of C-inulin. Viability was measured by trypan blue exclusion. Intracellular ascorbate was measured by HPLC.
RESULTS - CFH increased permeability in a dose- and time-dependent manner with 1 mg/ml of CFH increasing inulin transfer by 50% without affecting cell viability. CFH (1 mg/ml) also caused a dramatic reduction in intracellular ascorbate in the same time frame (1.4 mM without CFH, 0.23 mM 18 h after 1 mg/ml CFH, p < 0.05). Pre-treatment of HUVECs with ascorbate attenuated CFH induced permeability.
CONCLUSIONS - CFH increases endothelial permeability in part through depletion of intracellular ascorbate. Supplementation of ascorbate can attenuate increases in permeability mediated by CFH suggesting a possible therapeutic approach in sepsis.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by changes in eNOS, is a common finding in chronic inflammatory vascular diseases. These states are associated with increased infectious complications. We hypothesized that alterations in eNOS would enhance the response to LPS-mediated TLR4 inflammation. Human microvascular endothelial cells were treated with sepiapterin or N-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) to alter endogenous NO production, and small interfering RNA to knockdown eNOS. Alterations of endogenous NO by sepiapterin, and L-NAME provided no significant changes to LPS inflammation. In contrast, eNOS knockdown greatly enhanced endothelial IL-6 production and permeability in response to LPS. Knockdown of eNOS enhanced LPS-induced p38. Inhibition of p38 with SB203580 prevented IL-6 production, without altering permeability. Knockdown of p38 impaired NF-κB activation. Physical interaction between p38 and eNOS was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation, suggesting a novel, NO-independent mechanism for eNOS regulation of TLR4. In correlation, biopsy samples in patients with systemic lupus erythematous showed reduced eNOS expression with associated elevations in TLR4 and p38, suggesting an in vivo link. Thus, reduced expression of eNOS, as seen in chronic inflammatory disease, was associated with enhanced TLR4 signaling through p38. This may enhance the response to infection in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions.-Stark, R. J., Koch, S. R., Choi, H., Mace, E. H., Dikalov, S. I., Sherwood, E. R., Lamb, F. S. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase modulates Toll-like receptor 4-mediated IL-6 production and permeability via nitric oxide-independent signaling.
RATIONALE - Cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) is a potent oxidant associated with poor clinical outcomes in a variety of clinical settings. Recent studies suggest that acetaminophen (APAP), a specific hemoprotein reductant, can abrogate CFH-mediated oxidative injury and organ dysfunction. Preoperative plasma CFH levels are independently associated with primary graft dysfunction (PGD) after lung transplant ( 1 ).
OBJECTIVES - Our objectives were to determine whether CFH would increase lung vascular permeability in the isolated perfused human lung and whether APAP would limit these effects.
METHODS - Human lungs declined for transplant were inflated and perfused with Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium/5% albumin at a pulmonary artery pressure of 8-12 mm Hg. After steady state was achieved, CFH (100 mg/dl) was added to the perfusate ± APAP (15 μg/ml). Lung permeability was measured by continuous monitoring of lung weight gain and by extravasation of Evans blue dye-labeled albumin from the vasculature into bronchoalveolar lavage. To test the mechanism of increased permeability, human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells were exposed to CFH (0.5 mg/ml) ± APAP (160 μM) for 24 hours and permeability was assessed by electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing.
MEASUREMENT AND MAIN RESULTS - In the isolated perfused human lung, CFH increased lung permeability over 2 hours compared with control lungs (12% vs. 2% weight gain from baseline, P = 0.03). Increased vascular permeability was confirmed by a 4.8-fold increase in Evans blue dye-labeled albumin in the airspace compared with control lungs. Pretreatment with APAP prevented lung weight gain (P = 0.06 vs. CFH). In human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells, CFH increased monolayer permeability (P = 0.03 vs. control), and this was attenuated by APAP (P = 0.045 vs. CFH).
CONCLUSIONS - Circulating CFH increases vascular permeability in the isolated perfused human lung and paracellular permeability in lung microvascular endothelial cells. These effects may explain the association of plasma CFH levels with PGD. The hemoprotein reductant APAP attenuates the effects of CFH and merits further exploration as a potential therapy for PGD prevention.
The use of rodent models to evaluate efficacy during testing is accompanied by significant economic and regulatory hurdles which compound the costs of screening for promising drug candidates. Vasopermeation Enhancement Agents (VEAs) are a new class of biologics that are designed to increase the uptake of cancer therapeutics at the tumor site by modifying vascular permeability in the tumor to increase the therapeutic index of co-administered drugs. To evaluate the efficacy of a panel of VEA clinical candidates, we compared the rodent Miles assay to an equivalent assay in the ex ovo chicken embryo model. Both model systems identified the same candidate (PVL 10) as the most active promoter of vasopermeation in non-tumor tissues. An ex ovo chicken embryo system was utilized to test each candidate VEA in two human tumor models at a range of concentrations. Vasopermeation activity due to VEA was dependent on tumor type, with HEp3 tumors displaying higher levels of vasopermeation than MDA-MB-435. One candidate (PVL 10) proved optimal for HEp3 tumors and another (PVL 2) for MDA-MB-435. The use of the ex ovo chicken embryo model provides a rapid and less costly alternative to the use of rodent models for preclinical screening of drug candidates.
Tissue factor (TF) initiates the extrinsic coagulation cascade in response to tissue injury, leading to local fibrin deposition. Low levels of TF in mice are associated with increased severity of acute lung injury (ALI) after intratracheal LPS administration. However, the cellular sources of the TF required for protection from LPS-induced ALI remain unknown. In the current study, transgenic mice with cell-specific deletions of TF in the lung epithelium or myeloid cells were treated with intratracheal LPS to determine the cellular sources of TF important in direct ALI. Cell-specific deletion of TF in the lung epithelium reduced total lung TF expression to 39% of wild-type (WT) levels at baseline and to 29% of WT levels after intratracheal LPS. In contrast, there was no reduction of TF with myeloid cell TF deletion. Mice lacking myeloid cell TF did not differ from WT mice in coagulation, inflammation, permeability, or hemorrhage. However, mice lacking lung epithelial TF had increased tissue injury, impaired activation of coagulation in the airspace, disrupted alveolar permeability, and increased alveolar hemorrhage after intratracheal LPS. Deletion of epithelial TF did not affect alveolar permeability in an indirect model of ALI caused by systemic LPS infusion. These studies demonstrate that the lung epithelium is the primary source of TF in the lung, contributing 60-70% of total lung TF, and that lung epithelial, but not myeloid, TF may be protective in direct ALI.
The integrity of the lung alveolar epithelial barrier is required for the gas exchange and is important for immune regulation. Alveolar epithelial barrier is composed of flat type I cells, which make up approximately 95% of the gas-exchange surface, and cuboidal type II cells, which secrete surfactants and modulate lung immunity. p120-catenin (p120; gene symbol CTNND1) is an important component of adherens junctions of epithelial cells; however, its function in lung alveolar epithelial barrier has not been addressed in genetic models. Here, we created an inducible type II cell-specific p120-knockout mouse (p120EKO). The mutant lungs showed chronic inflammation, and the alveolar epithelial barrier was leaky to (125)I-albumin tracer compared to wild type. The mutant lungs also demonstrated marked infiltration of inflammatory cells and activation of NF-κB. Intracellular adhesion molecule 1, Toll-like receptor 4, and macrophage inflammatory protein 2 were all up-regulated. p120EKO lungs showed increased expression of the surfactant proteins Sp-B, Sp-C, and Sp-D, and displayed severe inflammation after pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa compared with wild type. In p120-deficient type II cell monolayers, we observed reduced transepithelial resistance compared to control, consistent with formation of defective adherens junctions. Thus, although type II cells constitute only 5% of the alveolar surface area, p120 expressed in these cells plays a critical role in regulating the innate immunity of the entire lung.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
An excess of free heme is present in the blood during many types of hemolytic anemia. This has been linked to organ damage caused by heme-mediated oxidative stress and vascular inflammation. We investigated the mechanism of heme-induced coagulation activation in vivo. Heme caused coagulation activation in wild-type mice that was attenuated by an anti-tissue factor antibody and in mice expressing low levels of tissue factor. In contrast, neither factor XI deletion nor inhibition of factor XIIa-mediated factor XI activation reduced heme-induced coagulation activation, suggesting that the intrinsic coagulation pathway is not involved. We investigated the source of tissue factor in heme-induced coagulation activation. Heme increased the procoagulant activity of mouse macrophages and human PBMCs. Tissue factor-positive staining was observed on leukocytes isolated from the blood of heme-treated mice but not on endothelial cells in the lungs. Furthermore, heme increased vascular permeability in the mouse lungs, kidney and heart. Deletion of tissue factor from either myeloid cells, hematopoietic or endothelial cells, or inhibition of tissue factor expressed by non-hematopoietic cells did not reduce heme-induced coagulation activation. However, heme-induced activation of coagulation was abolished when both non-hematopoietic and hematopoietic cell tissue factor was inhibited. Finally, we demonstrated that coagulation activation was partially attenuated in sickle cell mice treated with recombinant hemopexin to neutralize free heme. Our results indicate that heme promotes tissue factor-dependent coagulation activation and induces tissue factor expression on leukocytes in vivo. We also demonstrated that free heme may contribute to thrombin generation in a mouse model of sickle cell disease.
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