Oxygen (O2), while essential for aerobic life, can also cause metabolic toxicity through the excess generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pathological changes in ROS production can originate through the partial reduction of O2 during mitochondrial electron transport, as well as from enzymatic sources. This phenomenon, termed the oxygen paradox, has been implicated in aging and disease, and is especially evident in critical care medicine. Whereas high O2 concentrations are utilized as a life-sustaining therapeutic for respiratory insufficiency, they in turn can cause acute lung injury. Alveolar epithelial cells represent a primary target of hyperoxia-induced lung injury. Recent studies have indicated that epithelial cells exposed to high O2 concentrations die by apoptosis, or necrosis, and can also exhibit mixed-phenotypes of cell death (aponecrosis). Autophagy, a cellular homeostatic process responsible for the lysosomal turnover of organelles and proteins, has been implicated as a general response to oxidative stress in cells and tissues. This evolutionarily conserved process is finely regulated by a complex interplay of protein factors. During autophagy, senescent organelles and cellular proteins are sequestered in autophagic vacuoles (autophagosomes) and subsequently targeted to the lysosome, where they are degraded by lysosomal hydrolases, and the breakdown products released for reutilization in anabolic pathways. Autophagy has been implicated as a cell survival mechanism during nutrient-deficiency states, and more generally, as a determinant of cell fate. However, the mechanisms by which autophagy and/or autophagic proteins potentially interact with and/or regulate cell death pathways during high oxygen stress, remain only partially understood.
acute lung injury; Apoptosis; autophagy; caveolin-1; Fas; hyperoxia; LC3B
The bile pigments, biliverdin, and bilirubin, are endogenously derived substances generated during enzymatic heme degradation. These compounds have been shown to act as chemical antioxidants in vitro. Bilirubin formed in tissues circulates in the serum, prior to undergoing hepatic conjugation and biliary excretion. The excess production of bilirubin has been associated with neurotoxicity, in particular to the newborn. Nevertheless, clinical evidence suggests that mild states of hyperbilirubinemia may be beneficial in protecting against cardiovascular disease in adults. Pharmacological application of either bilirubin and/or its biological precursor biliverdin, can provide therapeutic benefit in several animal models of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Furthermore, biliverdin and bilirubin can confer protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury and graft rejection secondary to organ transplantation in animal models. Several possible mechanisms for these effects have been proposed, including direct antioxidant and scavenging effects, and modulation of signaling pathways regulating inflammation, apoptosis, cell proliferation, and immune responses. The practicality and therapeutic-effectiveness of bile pigment application to humans remains unclear.
antioxidant; biliverdin; bilirubin; cardiovascular disease; pulmonary disease
Heme oxygenase (HO), a catabolic enzyme, provides the rate-limiting step in the oxidative breakdown of heme, to generate carbon monoxide (CO), iron, and biliverdin-IXα. Induction of the inducible form, HO-1, in tissues is generally regarded as a protective mechanism. Over the last decade, considerable progress has been made in defining the therapeutic potential of HO-1 in a number of preclinical models of lung tissue injury and disease. Likewise, tissue-protective effects of CO, when applied at low concentration, have been observed in many of these models. Recent studies have expanded this concept to include chemical CO-releasing molecules (CORMs). Collectively, salutary effects of the HO-1/CO system have been demonstrated in lung inflammation/acute lung injury, lung and vascular transplantation, sepsis, and pulmonary hypertension models. The beneficial effects of HO-1/CO are conveyed in part through the inhibition or modulation of inflammatory, apoptotic, and proliferative processes. Recent advances, however, suggest that the regulation of autophagy and the preservation of mitochondrial homeostasis may serve as additional candidate mechanisms. Further preclinical and clinical trials are needed to ascertain the therapeutic potential of HO-1/CO in human clinical disease.
Autophagy provides a mechanism for the turnover of cellular organelles and proteins through a lysosome-dependent degradation pathway. During starvation, autophagy exerts a homeostatic function that promotes cell survival by recycling metabolic precursors. Additionally, autophagy can interact with other vital processes such as programmed cell death, inflammation, and adaptive immune mechanisms, and thereby potentially influence disease pathogenesis. Macrophages deficient in autophagic proteins display enhanced caspase-1-dependent proinflammatory cytokine production and the activation of the inflammasome. Autophagy provides a functional role in infectious diseases and sepsis by promoting intracellular bacterial clearance. Mutations in autophagy-related genes, leading to loss of autophagic function, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease. Furthermore, autophagy-dependent mechanisms have been proposed in the pathogenesis of several pulmonary diseases that involve inflammation, including cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. Strategies aimed at modulating autophagy may lead to therapeutic interventions for diseases associated with inflammation.
Beclin 1, a tumor suppressor protein, acts as an initiator of autophagy in mammals. Heterozygous disruption of Beclin 1 accelerates tumor growth, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We examined the role of Beclin 1 in tumor proliferation and angiogenesis, using a primary mouse melanoma tumor model. Beclin 1 (Becn1+/−) hemizygous mice displayed an aggressive tumor growth phenotype with increased angiogenesis under hypoxia, associated with enhanced levels of circulating erythropoietin but not vascular endothelial growth factor, relative to wild-type mice. Using in vivo and ex vivo assays, we demonstrated increased angiogenic activity in Becn1+/− mice relative to wild-type mice. Endothelial cells from Becn1+/− mice displayed increased proliferation, migration and tube formation in response to hypoxia relative to wild-type cells. Moreover, Becn1+/− cells subjected to hypoxia displayed increased hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) expression relative to HIF-1α. Genetic interference of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α, dramatically reduced hypoxia-inducible proliferation, migration and tube formation in Becn1+/− endothelial cells. We demonstrated that mice deficient in the autophagic protein Beclin 1 display a pro-angiogenic phenotype associated with the upregulation of HIF-2α and increased erythropoietin production. These results suggest a relationship between Beclin 1 and the regulation of angiogenesis, with implications in tumor growth and development.
angiogenesis; autophagy; beclin 1; hypoxia-inducible factor
Increases in cell death by programmed (ie., apoptosis, autophagy) or non-programmed mechanisms (ie., necrosis) occur during tissue injury, and may contribute to the etiology of several pulmonary or vascular disease states. The low molecular weight stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) confers cytoprotection against cell death in various models of lung and vascular injury by inhibiting apoptosis, inflammation, and cell proliferation. HO-1 serves a vital metabolic function as the rate-limiting step in the heme degradation pathway and in the maintenance of iron homeostasis. The transcriptional induction of HO-1 occurs in response to multiple forms of chemical and physical cellular stress. The cytoprotective functions of HO-1 may be attributed to heme turnover, as well as to beneficial properties of its enzymatic reaction products: biliverdin-IXα, iron, and carbon monoxide (CO). Recent studies have demonstrated that HO-1 or CO inhibits stress-induced extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in vitro. A variety of signaling molecules have been implicated in the cytoprotection conferred by HO-1/CO, including autophagic proteins, p38 mitogen activated protein kinase, signal transducer and activator of transcription proteins, nuclear factor-κB, phosphatydylinositol-3-kinase/Akt, and others. Enhanced HO-1 expression or the pharmacological application of HO end-products affords protection in preclinical models of tissue injury, including experimental and transplant-associated ischemia/reperfusion injury, promising potential future therapeutic applications.
Autophagy is a cellular process for the disposal of damaged organelles or denatured proteins through a lysosomal degradation pathway. By reducing endogenous macromolecules to their basic components (i.e., amino acids, lipids), autophagy serves a homeostatic function by ensuring cell survival during starvation. Increased autophagy can be found in dying cells, although the relationships between autophagy and programmed cell death remain unclear. To date, few studies have examined the regulation and functional significance of autophagy in human lung disease. The lung, a complex organ that functions primarily in gas exchange, consists of diverse cell types (i.e., endothelial, epithelial, mesenchymal, inflammatory). In lung cells, autophagy may represent a general inducible adaptive response to injury resulting from exposure to stress agents, including hypoxia, oxidants, inflammation, ischemia–reperfusion, endoplasmic reticulum stress, pharmaceuticals, or inhaled xenobiotics (i.e., air pollution, cigarette smoke). In recent studies, we have observed increased autophagy in mouse lungs subjected to chronic cigarette smoke exposure, and in pulmonary epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract. Knockdown of autophagic proteins inhibited apoptosis in response to cigarette smoke exposure in vitro, suggesting that increased autophagy was associated with epithelial cell death. We have also observed increased morphological and biochemical markers of autophagy in human lung specimens from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesize that increased autophagy contributes to COPD pathogenesis by promoting epithelial cell death. Further research will examine whether autophagy plays a homeostatic or maladaptive role in COPD and other human lung diseases.
autophagy; apoptosis; pulmonary disease
Autophagy, or “self eating,” refers to a regulated cellular process for the lysosomal-dependent turnover of organelles and proteins. During starvation or nutrient deficiency, autophagy promotes survival through the replenishment of metabolic precursors derived from the degradation of endogenous cellular components. Autophagy represents a general homeostatic and inducible adaptive response to environmental stress, including endoplasmic reticulum stress, hypoxia, oxidative stress, and exposure to pharmaceuticals and xenobiotics. Whereas elevated autophagy can be observed in dying cells, the functional relationships between autophagy and programmed cell death pathways remain incompletely understood. Preclinical studies have identified autophagy as a process that can be activated during vascular disorders, including ischemia–reperfusion injury of the heart and other organs, cardiomyopathy, myocardial injury, and atherosclerosis. The functional significance of autophagy in human cardiovascular disease pathogenesis remains incompletely understood, and potentially involves both adaptive and maladaptive outcomes, depending on model system. Although relatively few studies have been performed in the lung, our recent studies also implicate a role for autophagy in chronic lung disease. Manipulation of the signaling pathways that regulate autophagy could potentially provide a novel therapeutic strategy in the prevention or treatment of human disease.
autophagy; apoptosis; vascular disease
Autophagy, an autodigestive process that degrades cellular organelles and protein, plays an important role in maintaining cellular homeostasis during environmental stress. Carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas and candidate therapeutic molecule, confers cytoprotection in animal models of acute lung injury. The mechanisms underlying CO-dependent lung cell protection and the role of autophagy in this process remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that CO exposure time-dependently increased the expression and activation of the autophagic protein, microtubule-associated protein–1 light chain-3B (LC3B) in mouse lung, and in cultured human alveolar (A549) or human bronchial epithelial cells. Furthermore, CO increased autophagosome formation in epithelial cells by electron microscopy and green fluorescent protein (GFP)-LC3 puncta assays. Recent studies indicate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in the activation of autophagy. CO up-regulated mitochondria-dependent generation of ROS in epithelial cells, as assayed by MitoSOX fluorescence. Furthermore, CO-dependent induction of LC3B expression was inhibited by N-acetyl-L-cysteine and the mitochondria-targeting antioxidant, Mito-TEMPO. These data suggest that CO promotes the autophagic process through mitochondrial ROS generation. We investigated the relationships between autophagic proteins and CO-dependent cytoprotection using a model of hyperoxic stress. CO protected against hyperoxia-induced cell death, and inhibited hyperoxia-associated ROS production. The ability of CO to protect against hyperoxia-induced cell death and caspase-3 activation was compromised in epithelial cells infected with LC3B-small interfering (si)RNA, indicating a role for autophagic proteins. These studies uncover a new mechanism for the protective action of CO, in support of potential therapeutic application of this gas.
apoptosis; autophagy; carbon monoxide; epithelial cells; hyperoxia
Heme oxygenase (HO)-1, an inducible, low–molecular-weight stress protein, confers cellular and tissue protection in multiple models of injury and disease, including oxidative or inflammatory lung injury, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injuries, and vascular injury/disease. The tissue protection provided by HO-1 potentially relates to the endogenous production of the end products of its enzymatic activity: namely, biliverdin (BV)/bilirubin (BR), carbon monoxide (CO), and iron. Of these, CO and BV/BR show promise as possible therapeutic agents when applied exogenously in models of lung or vascular injury. CO activates intracellular signaling pathways that involve soluble guanylate cyclase and/or p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Although toxic at elevated concentrations, low concentrations of CO can confer antiinflammatory, antiapoptotic, antiproliferative, and vasodilatory effects. BV and BR are natural antioxidants that can provide protection against oxidative stress in cell culture and in plasma. Application of BV or BR protects against I/R injury in several organ models. Recent evidence has also demonstrated antiinflammatory and antiproliferative properties of these pigments. To date, evidence has accumulated for salutary effects of CO, BV, and/or BR in lung/vascular injury models, as well as in models of transplant-associated I/R injury. Thus, the exogenous application of HO end products may provide an alternative to pharmacologic or gene therapy approaches to harness the therapeutic potential of HO-1.
bilirubin; carbon monoxide; heme oxygenase-1; inflammation; ischemia/reperfusion
Rationale: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive disease with unclear etiology. The significance of autophagy in PH remains unknown.
Objectives: To determine the mechanisms by which autophagic proteins regulate tissue responses during PH.
Methods: Lungs from patients with PH, lungs from mice exposed to chronic hypoxia, and human pulmonary vascular cells were examined for autophagy using electron microscopy and Western analysis. Mice deficient in microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain-3B (LC3B−/−), or early growth response-1 (Egr-1−/−), were evaluated for vascular morphology and hemodynamics.
Measurements and Main Results: Human PH lungs displayed elevated lipid-conjugated LC3B, and autophagosomes relative to normal lungs. These autophagic markers increased in hypoxic mice, and in human pulmonary vascular cells exposed to hypoxia. Egr-1, which regulates LC3B expression, was elevated in PH, and increased by hypoxia in vivo and in vitro. LC3B−/− or Egr-1−/−, but not Beclin 1+/−, mice displayed exaggerated PH during hypoxia. In vitro, LC3B knockdown increased reactive oxygen species production, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α stabilization, and hypoxic cell proliferation. LC3B and Egr-1 localized to caveolae, associated with caveolin-1, and trafficked to the cytosol during hypoxia.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate elevated LC3B in the lungs of humans with PH, and of mice with hypoxic PH. The increased susceptibility of LC3B−/− and Egr-1−/− mice to hypoxia-induced PH and increased hypoxic proliferation of LC3B knockdown cells suggest adaptive functions of these proteins during hypoxic vascular remodeling. The results suggest that autophagic protein LC3B exerts a protective function during the pathogenesis of PH, through the regulation of hypoxic cell proliferation.
autophagy; hypoxia; hypertension, pulmonary
Autophagy, a cellular process for organelle and protein turnover, regulates innate immune responses. We demonstrate that depletion of autophagic proteins microtubule associated protein-1 light chain 3B (LC3B) and Beclin 1 enhances caspase-1 activation and secretion of interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. Autophagic protein depletion promoted accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and cytosolic translocation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and ATP in macrophages. Release of mtDNA into the cytosol depended on the NALP3 inflammasome and mitochondrial ROS. Cytosolic mtDNA contributed to IL-1β and IL-18 secretion in response to LPS and ATP. LC3B-deficient mice produced more caspase-1-dependent cytokines in two sepsis models and were susceptible to LPS-induced mortality. Our study suggests that autophagic proteins regulate NALP3-dependent inflammation by preserving mitochondrial integrity.
The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remain incompletely understood. We have investigated the potential role of macro-autophagy, a cellular homeostatic mechanism, in COPD and cigarette smoke-induced lung-cell injury. Autophagy is a dynamic process for the turnover of organelles and proteins, which regenerates metabolic precursors through the lysosomal-dependent catabolism of cellular macromolecules. It is typically associated with survival pathways, especially in nutrient deficiency states. The role of autophagy in human diseases is less clear, and has been associated with both protective and detrimental consequences, depending on the disease model. While autophagy is considered cytoprotective, this process is often found in association with cell death, and the relationships between autophagy and cell death remain ambiguous. We have found elevated autophagy in COPD lung specimens, as well as in response to cigarette smoke exposure in vitro and in vivo. In our studies, the activation of autophagic proteins was associated with epithelial cell apoptosis in response to cigarette smoke, with pathogenic implications in COPD. Further studies are needed to determine the functional significance of autophagy in COPD and other diseases of the lung.
apoptosis; autophagy; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cigarette smoke; emphysema
The extrinsic apoptotic pathway initiates when a death ligand, such as the Fas ligand, interacts with its cell surface receptor (ie., Fas/CD95), forming a death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). The Fas-dependent apoptotic pathway has been implicated in several models of lung or vascular injury. Carbon monoxide, an enzymatic product of heme oxygenase-1, exerts antiapoptotic effects at low concentration in vitro and in vivo.
Using mouse lung endothelial cells (MLEC), we examined the antiapoptotic potential of carbon monoxide against apoptosis induced by the Fas/CD95-activating antibody (Jo2). Carbon monoxide was applied to cell cultures in vitro. The expression and/or activation of apoptosis-related proteins and signaling intermediates were determined using Western Immunoblot and co-immunoprecipitation assays. Cell death was monitored by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assays. Statistical significance was determined by student T-test and a value of P < 0.05 was considered significant.
Treatment of MLEC with Fas-activating antibody (Jo2) induced cell death associated with the formation of the DISC, and activation of caspases (-8, -9, and -3), as well as the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein Bax. Exposure of MLEC to carbon monoxide inhibited Jo2-induced cell death, which correlated with the inhibition of DISC formation, cleavage of caspases-8, -9, and -3, and Bax activation. Carbon monoxide inhibited the phosphorylation of the Fas-associated death domain-containing protein, as well as its association with the DISC. Furthermore, carbon monoxide induced the expression of the antiapoptotic protein FLIP and increased its association with the DISC.
CO-dependent cytoprotection against Fas mediated apoptosis in MLEC depended in part on activation of ERK1/2-dependent signaling.
Carbon monoxide has been proposed as a potential therapy for lung and other diseases based in part on its antiapoptotic effects in endothelial cells. In vitro, carbon monoxide may inhibit both Fas/caspase-8 and Bax-dependent apoptotic signaling pathways induced by Fas-activating antibody in endothelial cells. Strategies to block Fas-dependent apoptotic pathways may be useful in development of therapies for lung or vascular disorders.
Carbon monoxide (CO) can confer anti-inflammatory protection in rodent models of ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). Caveolin-1 exerts a critical role in cellular responses to mechanical stress, and has been shown to mediate cytoprotective effects of CO in vitro. We sought to determine the role of caveolin-1 in lung susceptibility to VILI in mice. Furthermore, we assessed the role of caveolin-1 in the tissue protective effects of CO in the VILI model.
Prospective experimental study
Wild type (wt) and caveolin-1 deficient (cav-−/−) mice
Mice were subjected to tracheostomy and arterial cannulation. Wt and cav-1−/− mice were ventilated with a tidal volume of 12 ml/kg body weight and a frequency of 80/min for 5 min as control, or for 8h with air in the absence or presence of CO (250 parts per million). Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and histology were used to determine lung injury. Lung sections or homogenates were analyzed for caveolin-1 expression by immunohistochemical staining or Western Blotting, respectively.
Measurements and Main Results
Ventilation led to an increase in BAL protein concentration, cell count, neutrophil recruitment, and edema formation that was prevented in the presence of CO. While ventilation alone slightly induced caveolin-1 expression in epithelial cells, the application of CO during the ventilation significantly increased the expression of caveolin-1. In comparison to wt mice, mechanical ventilation of cav-1−/− mice led to a significantly higher degree of lung injury as compared to wt mice. In contrast to its effectiveness in wt mice, CO-administration failed to reduce lung injury markers in cav-1−/− mice.
Caveolin-1 null mice are more susceptible to VILI. Carbon monoxide executes lung protective effects during mechanical ventilation that are dependent in part, on caveolin-1 expression.
ventilator induced lung injury; mechanical ventilation; carbon monoxide; caveolin-1; mechanotransduction; acute lung injury
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a ubiquitous inducible stress-response protein, serves a major metabolic function in heme turnover. HO activity cleaves heme to form biliverdin-IXα, carbon monoxide (CO), and iron. Genetic experiments have revealed a central role for HO-1 in tissue homeostasis, protection against oxidative stress, and in the pathogenesis of disease. Four decades of research have witnessed not only progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation and function of this illustrious enzyme, but also have opened remarkable translational applications for HO-1 and its reaction products. CO, once regarded as a metabolic waste, can act as an endogenous mediator of cellular signaling and vascular function. Exogenous application of CO by inhalation or pharmacologic delivery can confer cytoprotection in preclinical models of lung/vascular injury and disease, based on anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties. The bile pigments, biliverdin and bilirubin, end products of heme degradation, have also shown potential as therapeutics in vascular disease based on anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activities. Further translational and clinical trials research will unveil whether the HO-1 system or any of its reaction products can be successfully applied as molecular medicine in human disease.
carbon monoxide; bilirubin; heme oxygenase-1; lung injury
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Hyperoxia causes lung injury in animals and humans, and is an established model of ALI. Caveolin-1, a major constituent of caveolae, regulates numerous biological processes, including cell death and proliferation. Here we demonstrate that caveolin-1–null mice (cav-1−/−) were resistant to hyperoxia-induced death and lung injury. Cav-1−/− mice sustained reduced lung injury after hyperoxia as determined by protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and histologic analysis. Furthermore, cav-1−/− fibroblasts and endothelial cells and cav-1 knockdown epithelial cells resisted hyperoxia-induced cell death in vitro. Basal and inducible expression of the stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were markedly elevated in lung tissue or fibroblasts from cav-1−/− mice. Hyperoxia induced the physical interaction between cav-1 and HO-1 in fibroblasts assessed by co-immunoprecipitation studies, which resulted in attenuation of HO activity. Inhibition of HO activity with tin protoporphyrin-IX abolished the survival benefits of cav-1−/− cells and cav-1−/− mice exposed to hyperoxia. The cav-1−/− mice displayed elevated phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p38β expression in lung tissue/cells under basal conditions and during hyperoxia. Treatment with SB202190, an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, decreased hyperoxia-inducible HO-1 expression in wild-type and cav-1−/− fibroblasts. Taken together, our data demonstrated that cav-1 deletion protects against hyperoxia-induced lung injury, involving in part the modulation of the HO-1–cav-1 interaction, and the enhanced induction of HO-1 through a p38 MAPK–mediated pathway. These studies identify caveolin-1 as a novel component involved in hyperoxia-induced lung injury.
acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; caveolin-1; heme oxygenase-1
Rationale: Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) leads to an unacceptably high mortality. In this regard, the antiinflammatory properties of inhaled carbon monoxide (CO) may provide a therapeutic option.
Objectives: This study explores the mechanisms of CO-dependent protection in a mouse model of VILI.
Methods: Mice were ventilated (12 ml/kg, 1–8 h) with air in the absence or presence of CO (250 ppm). Airway pressures, blood pressure, and blood gases were monitored. Lung tissue was analyzed for inflammation, injury, and gene expression. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was analyzed for protein, cell and neutrophil counts, and cytokines.
Measurements and Main Results: Mechanical ventilation caused significant lung injury reflected by increases in protein concentration, total cell and neutrophil counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, as well as the induction of heme oxygenase-1 and heat shock protein-70 in lung tissue. In contrast, CO application prevented lung injury during ventilation, inhibited stress-gene up-regulation, and decreased lung neutrophil infiltration. These effects were preceded by the inhibition of ventilation-induced cytokine and chemokine production. Furthermore, CO prevented the early ventilation-dependent up-regulation of early growth response-1 (Egr-1). Egr-1–deficient mice did not sustain lung injury after ventilation, relative to wild-type mice, suggesting that Egr-1 acts as a key proinflammatory regulator in VILI. Moreover, inhibition of peroxysome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ, an antiinflammatory nuclear regulator, by GW9662 abolished the protective effects of CO.
Conclusions: Mechanical ventilation causes profound lung injury and inflammatory responses. CO treatment conferred protection in this model dependent on PPAR-γ and inhibition of Egr-1.
carbon monoxide; early growth response-1; inflammation; peroxysome proliferator-activated receptor-γ; ventilator-induced lung injury
Despite the status of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as a major global health problem, no currently available therapies can limit COPD progression. Therefore, an urgent need exists for the development of new and effective treatments for COPD. An improved understanding in the molecular pathogenesis of COPD can potentially identify molecular targets to facilitate the development of new therapeutic modalities. Among the best approaches for understanding the molecular basis of COPD include gene expression profiling techniques, such as serial analysis of gene expression or microarrays. Using these methods, recent studies have mapped comparative gene expression profiles of lung tissues from patients with different stages of COPD relative to healthy smokers or non-smokers. Such studies have revealed a number of differentially-regulated genes associated with COPD progression, which include genes involved in the regulation of inflammation, extracellular matrix, cytokines, chemokines, apoptosis, and stress responses. These studies have shed new light on the molecular mechanisms of COPD, and suggest novel targets for clinical treatments.
COPD; gene expression; therapeutic targets
Cigarette smoke–induced apoptosis and necrosis contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The induction of heme oxygenase-1 provides cytoprotection against oxidative stress, and may protect in smoking-related disease. Since mitochondria regulate cellular death, we examined the functional expression and mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 in pulmonary epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract (CSE), and its role in modulating cell death. Heme oxygenase-1 expression increased dramatically in cytosolic and mitochondrial fractions of human alveolar (A549), or bronchial epithelial cells (Beas-2b) exposed to either hemin, lipopolysaccharide, or CSE. Mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 was also observed in a primary culture of human small airway epithelial cells. Furthermore, heme oxygenase activity increased dramatically in mitochondrial fractions, and in whole cell extracts of Beas-2b after exposure to hemin and CSE. The mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 in Beas-2b was confirmed using immunogold-electron microscopy and immunofluorescence labeling on confocal laser microscopy. CSE caused loss of cellular ATP and rapid depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. Apoptosis occurred in Beas-2b at low concentrations of cigarette smoke extract, whereas necrosis occurred at high concentrations. Overexpression of heme oxygenase-1 inhibited CSE-induced Beas-2b cell death and preserved cellular ATP levels. Finally, heme oxygenase-1 mRNA expression was elevated in the lungs of mice chronically exposed to cigarette smoke. We demonstrate the functional compartmentalization of heme oxygenase-1 in the mitochondria of lung epithelial cells, and its potential role in defense against mitochondria-mediated cell death during CSE exposure.
cigarette smoke; COPD; heme oxygenase-1; mitochondria
Mechanical ventilation causes ventilator-induced lung injury in animals and humans. Mitogen-activated protein kinases have been implicated in ventilator-induced lung injury though their functional significance remains incomplete. We characterize the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase/mitogen activated protein kinase kinase-3 and c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase-1 in ventilator-induced lung injury and investigate novel independent mechanisms contributing to lung injury during mechanical ventilation.
Methodology and Principle Findings
C57/BL6 wild-type mice and mice genetically deleted for mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-3 (mkk-3−/−) or c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase-1 (jnk1−/−) were ventilated, and lung injury parameters were assessed. We demonstrate that mkk3−/− or jnk1−/− mice displayed significantly reduced inflammatory lung injury and apoptosis relative to wild-type mice. Since jnk1−/− mice were highly resistant to ventilator-induced lung injury, we performed comprehensive gene expression profiling of ventilated wild-type or jnk1−/− mice to identify novel candidate genes which may play critical roles in the pathogenesis of ventilator-induced lung injury. Microarray analysis revealed many novel genes differentially expressed by ventilation including matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP8) and GADD45α. Functional characterization of MMP8 revealed that mmp8−/− mice were sensitized to ventilator-induced lung injury with increased lung vascular permeability.
We demonstrate that mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways mediate inflammatory lung injury during ventilator-induced lung injury. C-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase was also involved in alveolo-capillary leakage and edema formation, whereas MMP8 inhibited alveolo-capillary protein leakage.
Carbon monoxide (CO), a byproduct of heme catabolism by heme oxygenase (HO), confers potent antiinflammatory effects. Here we demonstrate that CO derived from HO-1 inhibited Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, 4, 5, and 9 signaling, but not TLR3-dependent signaling, in macrophages. Ligand-mediated receptor trafficking to lipid rafts represents an early event in signal initiation of immune cells. Trafficking of TLR4 to lipid rafts in response to LPS was reactive oxygen species (ROS) dependent because it was inhibited by diphenylene iodonium, an inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, and in gp91phox-deficient macrophages. CO selectively inhibited ligand-induced recruitment of TLR4 to lipid rafts, which was also associated with the inhibition of ligand-induced ROS production in macrophages. TLR3 did not translocate to lipid rafts by polyinosine-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)). CO had no effect on poly(I:C)-induced ROS production and TLR3 signaling. The inhibitory effect of CO on TLR-induced cytokine production was abolished in gp91phox-deficient macrophages, also indicating a role for NADPH oxidase. CO attenuated LPS-induced NADPH oxidase activity in vitro, potentially by binding to gp91phox. Thus, CO negatively controlled TLR signaling pathways by inhibiting translocation of TLR to lipid rafts through suppression of NADPH oxidase–dependent ROS generation.
Hypoxia/reoxygenation causes cell death, yet the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain partially understood. Recent studies demonstrate that hypoxia/reoxygenation can activate death receptor and mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathways, involving Bid and Bax mitochondrial translocation and cytochrome c release. Using mouse lung endothelial cells (MLEC), we examined the role of FLIP, an inhibitor of caspase 8, in hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced cell death. FLIP protected MLEC against hypoxia/reoxygenation by blocking both caspase 8/Bid and Bax/mitochondrial apoptotic pathways. FLIP inhibited Bax activation in wild-type and Bid−/− MLEC, indicating independence from the caspase 8/Bid pathway. FLIP also inhibited the expression and activation of protein kinase C (PKC) (α, ζ) during hypoxia/reoxygenation and promoted an association of inactive forms of PKC with Bax. Surprisingly, FLIP expression also inhibited death-inducing signal complex (DISC) formation in the plasma membrane and promoted the accumulation of the DISC in the Golgi apparatus. FLIP expression also upregulated Bcl-XL, an antiapoptotic protein. In conclusion, FLIP decreased DISC formation in the plasma membrane by blocking its translocation from the Golgi apparatus and inhibited Bax activation through a novel PKC-dependent mechanism. The inhibitory effects of FLIP on Bax activation and plasma membrane DISC formation may play significant roles in protecting endothelial cells from the lethal effects of hypoxia/reoxygenation.
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an inducible stress protein, confers cytoprotection against oxidative stress in vitro and in vivo. In addition to its physiological role in heme degradation, HO-1 may influence a number of cellular processes, including growth, inflammation, and apoptosis. By virtue of anti-inflammatory effects, HO-1 limits tissue damage in response to proinflammatory stimuli and prevents allograft rejection after transplantation. The transcriptional upregulation of HO-1 responds to many agents, such as hypoxia, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. HO-1 and its constitutively expressed isozyme, heme oxygenase-2, catalyze the rate-limiting step in the conversion of heme to its metabolites, bilirubin IXα, ferrous iron, and carbon monoxide (CO). The mechanisms by which HO-1 provides protection most likely involve its enzymatic reaction products. Remarkably, administration of CO at low concentrations can substitute for HO-1 with respect to anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, suggesting a role for CO as a key mediator of HO-1 function. Chronic, low-level, exogenous exposure to CO from cigarette smoking contributes to the importance of CO in pulmonary medicine. The implications of the HO-1/CO system in pulmonary diseases will be discussed in this review, with an emphasis on inflammatory states.
carbon monoxide; heme oxygenase-1; lung disease
Rationale: The role of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) in the development or progression of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is controversial.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between statin use and ILD.
Methods: We used regression analyses to evaluate the association between statin use and interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) in a large cohort of smokers from COPDGene. Next, we evaluated the effect of statin pretreatment on bleomycin-induced fibrosis in mice and explored the mechanism behind these observations in vitro.
Measurements and Main Results: In COPDGene, 38% of subjects with ILA were taking statins compared with 27% of subjects without ILA. Statin use was positively associated in ILA (odds ratio, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.50; P = 0.04) after adjustment for covariates including a history of high cholesterol or coronary artery disease. This association was modified by the hydrophilicity of statin and the age of the subject. Next, we demonstrate that statin administration aggravates lung injury and fibrosis in bleomycin-treated mice. Statin pretreatment enhances caspase-1–mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro; the latter responses were abolished in bone marrow–derived macrophages isolated from Nlrp3−/− and Casp1−/− mice. Finally, we provide further insights by demonstrating that statins enhance NLRP3-inflammasome activation by increasing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in macrophages.
Conclusions: Statin use is associated with ILA among smokers in the COPDGene study and enhances bleomycin-induced lung inflammation and fibrosis in the mouse through a mechanism involving enhanced NLRP3-inflammasome activation. Our findings suggest that statins may influence the susceptibility to, or progression of, ILD.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00608764).
statins; interstitial lung disease; pulmonary fibrosis; inflammasome; mitochondrial reactive oxygen species