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Increased endothelial permeability is central to the pathogenesis of sepsis and leads to organ dysfunction and death but the endogenous mechanisms that drive increased endothelial permeability are not completely understood. We previously reported that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH), elevated in 80% of patients with sepsis, increases lung microvascular permeability in an ex vivo human lung model and cultured endothelial cells. In this study, we augmented a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis with elevated circulating CFH to test the hypothesis that CFH increases microvascular endothelial permeability by inducing endothelial apoptosis. Mice were treated with an intraperitoneal injection of cecal slurry with or without a single intravenous injection of CFH. Severity of illness, mortality, systemic and lung inflammation, endothelial injury and dysfunction and lung apoptosis were measured at selected time points. We found that CFH added to CS increased sepsis mortality, plasma inflammatory cytokines as well as lung apoptosis, edema and inflammation without affecting large vessel reactivity or vascular injury marker concentrations. These results suggest that CFH is an endogenous mediator of increased endothelial permeability and apoptosis in sepsis and may be a promising therapeutic target.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is triggered by retinal cell damage stimulated by the diabetic milieu, including increased levels of intraocular free fatty acids. Free fatty acids may serve as an initiator of inflammatory cytokine release from Müller cells, and the resulting cytokines are potent stimulators of retinal endothelial pathology, such as leukostasis, vascular permeability, and basement membrane thickening. Our previous studies have elucidated a role for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) in promoting several steps in the pathologic cascade in DR, including angiogenesis and expression of inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, PPARβ/δ is a known target of lipid signaling, suggesting a potential role for this transcription factor in fatty acid-induced retinal inflammation. Therefore, we hypothesized that PPARβ/δ stimulates both the induction of inflammatory mediators by Müller cells as well the paracrine induction of leukostasis in endothelial cells (EC) by Müller cell inflammatory products. To test this, we used the PPARβ/δ inhibitor, GSK0660, in primary human Müller cells (HMC), human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMEC) and mouse retina. We found that palmitic acid (PA) activation of PPARβ/δ in HMC leads to the production of pro-angiogenic and/or inflammatory cytokines that may constitute DR-relevant upstream paracrine inflammatory signals to EC and other retinal cells. Downstream, EC transduce these signals and increase their synthesis and release of chemokines such as CCL8 and CXCL10 that regulate leukostasis and other cellular events related to vascular inflammation in DR. Our results indicate that PPARβ/δ inhibition mitigates these upstream (MC) as well as downstream (EC) inflammatory signaling events elicited by metabolic stimuli and inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, our data suggest that PPARβ/δ inhibition is a potential therapeutic strategy against early DR pathology.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Resuscitation with 0.9% Normal Saline (NS), a non-buffered acidic solution, leads to increased morbidity and mortality in the critically ill. The goal of this study was to determine the molecular mechanisms of endothelial injury after exposure to NS. The hypothesis of this investigation is that exposure of endothelium to NS would lead to loss of cell membrane integrity, resulting in release of ATP, activation of the purinergic receptor (P2X7R), and subsequent activation of stress activated signaling pathways and inflammation. Human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) incubated in NS, but not buffered electrolyte solution (Plasma-Lyte, PL), exhibited abnormal morphology and increased release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and decreased transendothelial resistance (TEER), suggesting loss of membrane integrity. Incubation of intact rat aorta (RA) or human saphenous vein in NS but not PL led to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation which was ameliorated by apyrase (hydrolyzes ATP) or SB203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor). Exposure of HSVEC to NS but not PL led to activation of p38 MAPK and its downstream substrate, MAPKAP kinase 2 (MK2). Treatment of HSVEC with exogenous ATP led to interleukin 1β (IL-1β) release and increased vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) expression. Treatment of RA with IL-1β led to impaired endothelial relaxation. IL-1β treatment of HSVEC led to increases in p38 MAPK and MK2 phosphorylation, and increased levels of arginase II. Incubation of porcine saphenous vein (PSV) in PL with pH adjusted to 6.0 or less also led to impaired endothelial function, suggesting that the acidic nature of NS is what contributes to endothelial dysfunction. Volume overload resuscitation in a porcine model after hemorrhage with NS, but not PL, led to acidosis and impaired endothelial function. These data suggest that endothelial dysfunction caused by exposure to acidic, non-buffered NS is associated with loss of membrane integrity, release of ATP, and is modulated by P2X7R-mediated inflammatory responses.
The mechanisms regulating endothelial cell response to hemodynamic forces required for heart valve development, especially valve remodeling, remain elusive. Tie1, an endothelial specific receptor tyrosine kinase, is up-regulated by oscillating shear stress and is required for lymphatic valve development. In this study, we demonstrate that valvular endothelial Tie1 is differentially expressed in a dynamic pattern predicted by disturbed flow during valve remodeling. Following valvular endocardial specific deletion of Tie1 in mice, we observed enlarged aortic valve leaflets, decreased valve stiffness and valvular insufficiency. Valve abnormalities were only detected in late gestation and early postnatal mutant animals and worsened with age. The mutant mice developed perturbed extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and remodeling characterized by increased glycosaminoglycan and decreased collagen content, as well as increased valve interstitial cell expression of Sox9, a transcription factor essential for normal ECM maturation during heart valve development. This study provides the first evidence that Tie1 is involved in modulation of late valve remodeling and suggests that an important Tie1-Sox9 signaling axis exists through which disturbed flows are converted by endocardial cells to paracrine Sox9 signals to modulate normal matrix remodeling of the aortic valve.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Fibrosis accompanying wound healing can drive the failure of many different organs. Activated fibroblasts are the principal determinants of post-injury pathological fibrosis along with physiological repair, making them a difficult therapeutic target. Although activated fibroblasts are phenotypically heterogeneous, they are not recognized as distinct functional entities. Using mice that express GFP under the FSP1 or αSMA promoter, we characterized two non-overlapping fibroblast subtypes from mouse hearts after myocardial infarction. Here, we report the identification of FSP1-GFP cells as a non-pericyte, non-hematopoietic fibroblast subpopulation with a predominant pro-angiogenic role, characterized by in vitro phenotypic/cellular/ultrastructural studies and in vivo granulation tissue formation assays combined with transcriptomics and proteomics. This work identifies a fibroblast subtype that is functionally distinct from the pro-fibrotic αSMA-expressing myofibroblast subtype. Our study has the potential to shift our focus towards viewing fibroblasts as molecularly and functionally heterogeneous and provides a paradigm to approach treatment for organ fibrosis.
Most neurons are not replaced during an animal's lifetime. This nondividing state is characterized by extreme longevity and age-dependent decline of key regulatory proteins. To study the lifespans of cells and proteins in adult tissues, we combined isotope labeling of mice with a hybrid imaging method (MIMS-EM). Using N mapping, we show that liver and pancreas are composed of cells with vastly different ages, many as old as the animal. Strikingly, we also found that a subset of fibroblasts and endothelial cells, both known for their replicative potential, are characterized by the absence of cell division during adulthood. In addition, we show that the primary cilia of beta cells and neurons contains different structural regions with vastly different lifespans. Based on these results, we propose that age mosaicism across multiple scales is a fundamental principle of adult tissue, cell, and protein complex organization.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
There is a profound need for functional, biomimetic in vitro tissue constructs of the human blood-brain barrier and neurovascular unit (NVU) to model diseases and identify therapeutic interventions. Here, we show that induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) exhibit robust barrier functionality when cultured in 3D channels within gelatin hydrogels. We determined that BMECs cultured in 3D under perfusion conditions were 10-100 times less permeable to sodium fluorescein, 3 kDa dextran, and albumin relative to human umbilical vein endothelial cell and human dermal microvascular endothelial cell controls, and the BMECs maintained barrier function for up to 21 days. Analysis of cell-cell junctions revealed expression patterns supporting barrier formation. Finally, efflux transporter activity was maintained over 3 weeks of perfused culture. Taken together, this work lays the foundation for development of a representative 3D in vitro model of the human NVU constructed from iPSCs.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
A defining hallmark of cancer and cancer development is upregulated angiogenesis. The vasculature formed in tumors is structurally abnormal, not organized in the conventional hierarchical arrangement, and more permeable than normal vasculature. These features contribute to leaky, tortuous, and dilated blood vessels, which act to create heterogeneous blood flow, compression of vessels, and elevated interstitial fluid pressure. As such, abnormalities in the tumor vasculature not only affect the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the tumor, but also contribute to creating an abnormal tumor microenvironment that further promotes tumorigenesis. The role of chemical signaling events in mediating tumor angiogenesis has been well researched; however, the relative contribution of physical cues and mechanical regulation of tumor angiogenesis is less understood. Growing research indicates that the physical microenvironment plays a significant role in tumor progression and promoting abnormal tumor vasculature. Here, we review how mechanical cues found in the tumor microenvironment promote aberrant tumor angiogenesis. Specifically, we discuss the influence of matrix stiffness and mechanical stresses in tumor tissue on tumor vasculature, as well as the mechanosensory pathways utilized by endothelial cells to respond to the physical cues found in the tumor microenvironment. We also discuss the impact of the resulting aberrant tumor vasculature on tumor progression and therapeutic treatment.
High blood pressure is a highly heritable and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We report the largest genetic association study of blood pressure traits (systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure) to date in over 1 million people of European ancestry. We identify 535 novel blood pressure loci that not only offer new biological insights into blood pressure regulation but also highlight shared genetic architecture between blood pressure and lifestyle exposures. Our findings identify new biological pathways for blood pressure regulation with potential for improved cardiovascular disease prevention in the future.