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1.  Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Regulates Pulmonary Arterial Contractility and Vascular Permeability in Mice 
The concentration of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is elevated in pathological settings such as acute lung injury, where pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability are disrupted. uPA limits the accretion of fibrin after injury. Here we investigated whether uPA also regulates pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability. Contractility was measured using isolated pulmonary arterial rings. Pulmonary blood flow was measured in vivo by Doppler and pulmonary vascular permeability, according to the extravasation of Evans blue. Our data show that uPA regulates the in vitro pulmonary arterial contractility induced by phenylephrine in a dose-dependent manner through two receptor-dependent pathways, and regulates vascular contractility and permeability in vivo. Physiological concentrations of uPA (≤1 nM) stimulate the contractility of pulmonary arterial rings induced by phenylephrine through the low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein receptor. The procontractile effect of uPA is independent of its catalytic activity. At pathophysiological concentrations, uPA (20 nM) inhibits contractility and increases vascular permeability. The inhibition of vascular contractility and increase of vascular permeability is mediated through a two-step process that involves docking to N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor–1 (NMDA-R1) on pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells, and requires catalytic activity. Peptides that specifically inhibit the docking of uPA to NMDA-R, or the uPA variant with a mutated receptor docking site, abolished both the effects of uPA on vascular contractility and permeability, without affecting its catalytic activity. These data show that uPA, at concentrations found under pathological conditions, reduces pulmonary arterial contractility and increases permeability though the activation of NMDA-R1. The selective inhibition of NMDAR-1 activation by uPA can be accomplished without a loss of fibrinolytic activity.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0302OC
PMCID: PMC3262683  PMID: 21617202
urokinase; NMDA-R; lung; permeability
2.  Regulation of Airway Contractility by Plasminogen Activators through N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor–1 
Reactive airway disease is mediated by smooth muscle contraction initiated through several agonist-dependent pathways. Activation of type 1 N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDA-R1s) by plasminogen activators (PAs) has been linked to control of vascular tone, but their effect on airway smooth muscle contractility has not previously been studied to our knowledge. We observed that NMDA-R1s are expressed by human airway smooth muscle cells and constitutively inhibit the contraction of isolated rat tracheal rings in response to acetylcholine (Ach). Both tissue-type PA (tPA) and urokinase-type PA (uPA) bind to NMDA-R1 and reverse this effect, thereby enhancing Ach-induced tracheal contractility. Tracheal contractility initiated by Ach is reduced in rings isolated from tPA−/− and uPA−/− mice compared with their wild-type counterparts. The procontractile effect of uPA or tPA was mimicked and augmented by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, l-NAME. uPA and tPA further enhanced the contractility of rings denuded of epithelium, an effect that was inhibited by the NMDA-R antagonist, MK-801. Binding of PAs to NMDA-R1 and the subsequent activation of the receptor were inhibited by PA inhibitor type 1, by a PA inhibitor type 1–derived hexapeptide that recognizes the tPA and uPA docking domains, as well as by specific mutations within the docking site of tPA. These studies identify involvement of PAs and NMDA-R1 in airway contractility, and define new loci that could lead to the development of novel interventions for reactive airway disease.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0257OC
PMCID: PMC2993090  PMID: 20097831
tissue plasminogen activator; urokinase NMDA receptor; lungs

Results 1-2 (2)