Intestinal ischemia is a critical problem resulting in multiple organ failure and high mortality of 60 to 80%. Acute lung injury (ALI) is a common complication after intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injuries and contributes to the high mortality rate. Moreover, activated neutrophil infiltration into the lungs is known to play a significant role in the progression of ALI. Integrin-mediated interaction is involved in neutrophil transmigration. Synthetic peptides containing an arginine-glycine-aspartate sequence compete with adhesive proteins and inhibit integrin-mediated interaction and signaling. Thus, we hypothesized that the administration of a cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartate peptide (cRGD) inhibited neutrophil infiltration and provided protection against ALI induced by intestinal I/R.
Ischemia in adult male C57BL/6 mice was induced by fastening the superior mesenteric artery with 4-0 suture. Forty-five minutes later, the vascular suture was released to allow reperfusion. cRGD (5 mg/kg body weight) or normal saline (vehicle) was administered by intraperitoneal injection 1 hour prior to ischemia. Blood, gut, and lung tissues were collected 4 hours after reperfusion for various measurements.
Intestinal I/R caused severe widespread injury to the gut and lungs. Treatment with cRGD improved the integrity of microscopic structures in the gut and lungs, as judged by histological examination. Intestinal I/R induced the expression of β1, β2 and β3 integrins, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and fibronectin. cRGD significantly inhibited myeloperoxidase activity in the gut and lungs, as well as neutrophils and macrophages infiltrating the lungs. cRGD reduced the levels of TNF-α and IL-6 in serum, in addition to IL-6 and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 in the gut and lungs. Furthermore, the number of TUNEL-staining cells and levels of cleaved caspase-3 in the lungs were significantly lowered in the cRGD-treated mice in comparison with the vehicle mice.
Treatment with cRGD effectively protected ALI and gut injury, lowered neutrophil infiltration, suppressed inflammation, and inhibited lung apoptosis after intestinal I/R. Thus, there is potential for developing cRGD as a treatment for patients suffering from ALI caused by intestinal I/R.