Recent evidence suggests that the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) has an elevated level of proteases, including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), involved in cell membrane receptor cleavage. We hypothesize that SHR red blood cells (RBCs) may be subject to an enhanced glycocalyx cleavage compared to the RBCs of the normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. By direct observation of RBC rouleaux, we found no significant difference in RBC aggregation for unseparated SHR and WKY RBCs. However, lighter SHR RBCs have a greater tendency to aggregate than WKY RBCs when separated by centrifugation. When SHR plasma was mixed with WKY RBCs, SHR plasma proteases cleaved the glycocalyx of WKY RBCs, a process that can be blocked by MMP inhibition. When treated with MMPs, WKY RBCs showed strong aggregation in dextran but not in fibrinogen, indicating that RBC membrane glycoproteins from the inner core of the glycocalyx were cleaved and that dextran was able to bind to the lipid portion of the RBC membrane. In contrast, treatment with amylases produced fibrinogen-induced aggregation with fibrinogen binding to the protein core. MMP cleavage of RBC glycocalyx reduces RBC adhesion to macrophages as a mechanism to remove old RBCs from the circulation.
Spontaneously hypertensive rat; matrix metalloproteinases; red blood cell aggregation; glycocalyx cleavage; dextran; fibrinogen
Intestinal ischemia is associated with high morbidity and mortality but the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. We hypothesize that during ischemia the intestinal mucosal barrier becomes disrupted, allowing digestive enzymes access into the intestinal wall initiating autodigestion. We used a rat model of splanchnic ischemia by occlusion of the superior mesenteric and celiac arteries up to 30 min with and without luminal injection of tranexamic acid as a trypsin inhibitor. We determined the location and activity of digestive proteases on intestinal sections with in-situ zymography and we examined the disruption of two components of the mucosal barrier: mucin isoforms and the extra- and intracellular domains of E-cadherin with immunohistochemistry and western blot techniques. The results indicate that non-ischemic intestine has low levels of protease activity in its wall. After 15 min ischemia protease activity was visible at the tip of the villi and after 30 min enhanced activity was seen across the full thickness of the intestinal wall. This activity was accompanied by disruption of the mucin layer and loss of both intra- and extracellular domains of E-cadherin. Digestive protease inhibition in the intestinal lumen with tranexamic acid reduced morphological damage and entry of digestive enzymes into the intestinal wall. This study demonstrates that disruption of the mucosal epithelial barrier within minutes of intestinal ischemia allows entry of fully activated pancreatic digestive proteases across the intestinal barrier triggering autodigestion.
Shock; mucin; serine proteases; e-cadherin
Recent evidence indicates that several experimental pathophysiological conditions are associated with elevated protease activity in plasma, which impacts endothelial function. We hypothesize that extracellular structures bound to the endothelial cell (EC) membrane may be degraded by proteolytic activity and cause the cells to respond abnormally to physiological shear stress (12 dyn/cm2). To test this hypothesis, cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) were exposed to low levels of a serine protease, trypsin. Extracellular mechanosensor densities of the glycocalyx and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) were determined. Metabolic dysfunction was tested by examining insulin receptor and glucose uptake levels. Protease treatment impaired the cells’ ability to align in the direction of fluid flow after 12 hours of shear stress; however, cells realigned after an additional 12 hours of shear stress with protease inhibition. Proteases caused reduction in the densities of glycocalyx, VEGFR-2, and insulin receptor in static and shear conditions, except for static VEGFR-2 cells. Under static conditions, protease-treated endothelial cells had reduced glucose uptake compared to untreated controls. Under shear, however, glucose uptake for protease-treated BAECs was greater than untreated controls. In conclusion, protease activity in plasma alters the exofacial membrane components of ECs and may interfere with mechanotransduction.
Mechanotransduction; VEGFR-2; insulin resistance; lectin; glycocalyx; autodigestion
Microvascular rarefaction, defined by a loss of terminal arterioles, small venules and/or capillaries, is a common characteristic of the hypertension syndrome. While rarefaction has been associated with vessel specific free radical production, deficient leukocyte adhesion, and cellular apoptosis, the relationships of rarefaction with structural alterations at the network and cellular level remain largely unexplored. The objective of this study was to examine the architecture and perivascular cell phenotypes along microvascular networks in hypertensive versus normotensive controls in the context of imbalanced angiogenesis. Mesenteric tissues from age-matched adult male spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats were harvested and immnolabeled for PECAM and neuron-glia antigen 2 (NG2). Evaluation of intact rat mesenteric microvascular networks rats suggests that network alterations associated with hypertension are more complex than just a loss of vessels. Typical SHR versus WKY networks demonstrate a reduced branching architecture marked by more proximal arteriole/venous anastomoses and an absence of NG2 labeling along arterioles. Although less frequent, larger SHR microvascular networks display regions of dramatically increased vascular density. SHR and WKY lymphatic networks demonstrate increased vessel diameters and vascular density compared to networks in normotensive Wistar rats (the strain from which both the SHR and WKY originated). These observations provide a rationale for investigating the presence of local angiogenic factors and response of microvascular networks to therapies aimed at reversing rarefaction in genetic hypertension.
A complication of the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is microvascular rarefaction, defined by the loss of microvessels. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process remain incompletely identified. Recent work in our laboratory suggests that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) may play a role by cleavage of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2). In order to further delineate the role for MMPs in microvascular rarefaction, the objective of the current study was to examine the relationship in the same tissue between MMP activity, VEGFR-2 cleavage and rarefaction. Using an in-vivo microzymographic technique we show significantly enhanced levels of MMP-1, -1/-9, -7, and -8 activities, but not MMP-2 and-3 activities, along mesenteric microvessels of the SHR compared to its normotensive control, Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rat. Based on immunohistochemical methods, the SHR exhibited a decreased labeling of the extracellular, but not the intracellular, domain of VEGFR-2 along mesenteric microvessels. Chronic MMP inhibition served to attenuate VEGFR-2 cleavage and microvascular network rarefaction in the SHR mesentery. These results spatially link MMP-induced VEGFR-2 cleavage and rarefaction in the mesentery of the SHR and thus support the hypothesis that MMPs serve as regulators of microvascular dysfunction in hypertension.
Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat; Wister Kyoto rat; capillary; arteriole; venule; microzymography; matrix metalloproteinase inhibition
Recent evidence suggests that inflammation in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is associated with an uncontrolled matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity. We hypothesize that the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF–κB) is overexpressed in the SHR, enhancing its MMP activity and enzymatic cleavage of the beta-2 adrenergic receptor (β2AR), thereby diminishing catecholamine-mediated arteriolar vasodilation. NF-κB expression level and translocation were compared between Wistar Kyoto rat (WKY) and SHR kidney, heart and brain. The animals were treated with a NF-κB inhibitor, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), for ten weeks and correlations between NF-κB and MMP activity were determined. Immunohistochemistry showed that NF-κB expression is increased in untreated SHR kidney (~ 14%) and brain hypothalamus (~ 22%) compared to that in WKY (p <0.05), but not in myocardium and cerebral cortex. After PDTC treatment, the SHR systolic blood pressure was reduced close to WKY levels. NF-κB expression level in treated-SHR was also decreased in kidney and hypothalamus compared to non-treated animals (p <0.05). Furthermore, MMP-2 and -9 activities in SHR plasma were significantly reduced (~41%) by PDTC treatment. Additionally, zymographic analyses and in situ zymography showed decreased MMP-2 activity in kidney homogenates and decreased MMP-1,-9 activities in brain. The level of the β2AR extracellular, but not intracellular, domain density was found reduced in kidney showing a receptor cleavage process that can be blocked by PDTC treatment. These results suggest NF-κB is an important transcription factor in the SHR and may be involved in the enhanced MMP activity and consequently receptor cleavage.
Microcirculation; matrix metalloproteinases; beta-2 adrenergic receptor; receptor cleavage; NF-κB inhibitor; pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate
Venous hypertension is associated with microvascular inflammation, restructuring, and apoptosis, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these events remain uncertain. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that elevated venous pressure and reduction of shear stress induces elevated enzymatic activity. This activity in turn may affect endothelial surface receptors and promote their dysfunction. Using a rodent model for venous hypertension using acute venular occlusion, microzymographic techniques for enzyme detection, and immunohistochemistry for receptor labeling, we found increased activity of the matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) -1, -8 and -9 and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteases (TIMPs) -1,-2 in both high and low-pressure regions. In this short time frame we also observed that elevated venule pressure led to two different fates for the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2); in higher-pressure upstream regions some animals exhibited higher VEGFR2 expression, while others displayed lower levels upstream compared to their downstream counterparts with lower pressure. VEGFR2 expression was, on average, more pronounced upon application of MMP inhibitor, suggesting possible cleavage of the receptor by activated enzymes in this model. We conclude that venous pressure elevation increases enzymatic activity which may contribute to inflammation and endothelial dysfunction associated with this disease by influencing critical surface receptors.
matrix metalloproteases; inflammation; vascular endothelial growth factor-2; occlusion; mesentery; venule; endothelial cell
Although long recognized in microvascular research, an increasing body of evidence suggests that inflammatory markers are present in human diseases. Since the inflammatory cascade serves as a repair mechanism, the presence of inflammatory markers in patient groups has raised an important question about the mechanisms that initiate the inflammatory cascade, i.e. the mechanisms that cause tissue injury. Using a severe forms of inflammation, shock and multi-organ failure, for which there is no accepted injury mechanism, we summarize studies which suggest that the powerful pancreatic digestive enzymes play a central role in destruction of the intestine and other tissues if their compartmentalization in the lumen of the intestine and in the pancreas is compromised. Furthermore, we summarize evidence that uncontrolled degrading enzyme activity in plasma causes proteolytic cleavage of the extracellular domain of membrane receptors and loss of associated cell functions. For example, in a model of metabolic disease with Type II diabetes proteolytic cleavage of the insulin receptor causes the inability of insulin to signal glucose transport across membranes. The evidence suggests that uncontrolled proteolytic and lipolytic enzyme activity may trigger mechanism for tissue injury. The significance of such mechanisms remain to be explored in human diseases.
Microcirculation; inflammation; pancreatic enzymes; matrix metalloproteinases; shock; multi-organ failure; hypertension
In January of 2011, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine (SPRBM) held its inaugural Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) conference. The CMBE conference assembled worldwide leaders in the field of CMBE and held a very successful Round Table discussion among leaders. One of the action items was to collectively construct a white paper regarding the future of CMBE. Thus, the goal of this report is to emphasize the impact of CMBE as an emerging field, identify critical gaps in research that may be answered by the expertise of CMBE, and provide perspectives on enabling CMBE to address challenges in improving human health. Our goal is to provide constructive guidelines in shaping the future of CMBE.
Increasing evidence suggests that most cardiovascular diseases, tumors and other ailments are associated with an inflammatory cascade. The inflammation is accompanied by activation of cells in the circulation and fundamental changes in the mechanics of the microcirculation, expression of pro-inflammatory genes and downregulation of anti-inflammatory genes, attachment of leukocytes to the endothelium, elevated permeability of the endothelium, and many other events. The evidence has opened great opportunities for medicine to develop new anti-inflammatory interventions. But it also raises a fundamental question: What is the origin of inflammation? I will discuss a basic series of studies that was designed to explore trigger mechanisms for inflammation in shock and multi-organ failure, an important clinical problem associated with high mortality. We traced the source of the inflammatory mediators to the powerful digestive enzymes in the intestine. Synthesized in the pancreas as part of normal digestion, they have the ability to degrade almost all biological tissues and molecules. In the lumen of the intestine, digestive enzymes are fully activated and self-digestion of the intestine is prevented by compartmentalization in the lumen of the intestine facilitated by the mucosal epithelial barrier. Under conditions of intestinal ischemia, however, the mucosal barrier becomes permeable to pancreatic enzymes allowing their entry into the wall of the intestine. The process leads to auto-digestion of the intestinal wall and production of inflammatory mediators. The hypothesis that multi-organ failure in shock may be due an auto-digestion process by pancreatic enzymes is ready to be tested in a variety of shock conditions.
shock; intestinal ischemia; digestive enzymes; transport; epithelial barrier
Arterial hypertension is associated with organ dysfunctions, but the mechanisms are uncertain. We hypothesize that enhanced proteolytic activity in the microcirculation of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) may be a pathophysiological mechanism causing cell membrane receptors cleavage and examine this for two different receptors. Immunohistochemistry of matrix-degrading metalloproteinases (MMP-9) protein shows enhanced levels in SHR microvessels, mast cells, and leukocytes compared to normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. In-vivo micro-zymography shows cleavage by MMP-1,9 in SHRs that co-localizes with MMP-9 and is blocked by metal chelation. SHR plasma also has enhanced protease activity. We demonstrate with an antibody against the extracellular domain that the insulin receptor-α density is reduced in SHR, in line with elevated blood glucose levels and glycated hemoglobin. There is also cleavage of the binding domain of the leukocyte integrin receptor CD18 in line with previously reported reduced leukocyte adhesion. Blockade of MMPs with broad acting inhibitor (doxycycline, 5.4mg/kg/day) reduces protease activity in plasma and microvessels, blocks the proteolytic cleavage of the insulin receptor, the reduced glucose transport, normalizes blood glucose levels and glycated hemoglobin levels, as well as reduces blood pressure and enhanced microvascular oxidative stress of SHRs. The results suggest that elevated MMP activity leads to proteolytic cleavage of membrane receptors in the SHR, e.g. cleavage of the insulin receptor-binding domain associated with insulin resistance.
Microcirculation; matrix metalloproteinases; insulin receptor; integrin; receptor cleavage; oxygen free radical
My association with Tony Hugli, long-term editor of Immunopharmacology and International Immunopharmacology, came about by a specific and long-standing problem in inflammation research. What is the trigger mechanism of inflammation in physiological shock? This is an important clinical problem due to the high mortality associated with physiological shock. We joined forces in the search of the answer to this question for more than a decade. Our journey eventually led to development of the hypothesis that shock may be associated with pancreatic enzymes, a set of powerful digestive enzymes that are an integral part of human digestion. The digestive enzymes need to be compartmentalized in the lumen of the intestine where they break down a broad spectrum of biological molecules into their building blocks, suitable for molecular transport across the mucosal epithelium into the circulation. The mucosal epithelial barrier is the key element for compartmentalization of the digestive enzymes. But under conditions when the mucosal barrier is compromised, the fully activated digestive enzymes in the lumen of the intestine are transported into the wall of the intestine, starting an auto-digestion process. In the process several classes of mediators are generated that by themselves have inflammatory activity and upon entry into the central circulation generate the hallmarks of inflammation and eventually cause multi-organ failure. Thus, our journey led to a new hypothesis, which is potentially of fundamental importance for death by multi-organ failure. The auto-digestion hypothesis is in line with the century old observation that the intestine plays a special role on shock - indeed it is the organ for digestion. Auto-digestion may be the prize to pay for life-long nutrition.
Auto-digestion; shock; inflammation; cytokines; leukocytes; microcirculation; pancreatic enzymes; trypsin; chymotrypsin; elastase
In bowel ischemia, impaired mucosal integrity may allow intestinal pancreatic enzyme products to become systemic and precipitate irreversible shock and death. This can be attenuated by pancreatic enzyme inhibition in the small bowel lumen. It is unresolved, however, whether ischemically-mediated mucosal disruption is the key event allowing pancreatic enzyme products systemic access, and whether intestinal digestive enzyme activity in concert with increased mucosal permeability leads to shock in the absence of ischemia. To test this possibility, the small intestinal lumen of non-ischemic rats was perfused for two hours with either digestive enzymes, a mucin disruption strategy (i.e., mucolytics) designed to increase mucosal permeability, or both, and animals were observed for shock. Digestive enzymes perfused included trypsin, chymotrypsin, elastase, amylase and lipase. Control (n=6) and experimental animals perfused with pancreatic enzymes only (n=6) or single enzymes (n=3 for each of the five enzyme groups) maintained stable hemodynamics. After mucin disruption using a combination of enteral N-acetylcysteine, atropine, and increased flow rates, rats (n=6) developed mild hypotension (p<0.001 compared to groups perfused with pancreatic enzymes only after 90 minutes) and increased intestinal permeability to intralumenally perfused FITC-dextrans-20kD (p<0.05) compared to control and enzyme-only groups, but there were no deaths. All animals perfused with both digestive enzymes and subjected to mucin disruption (n=6) developed hypotension and increased intestinal permeability (p<0.001 after 90 minutes). Pancreatic enzymes were measured in the intestinal wall of both groups subjected to mucin disruption, but not in the enzyme-only or control groups. Depletion of plasma protease inhibitors was found only in animals perfused with pancreatic enzymes plus mucin disruption, implicating increased permeability and intralumenal pancreatic enzyme egress in this group. These experiments demonstrate that increased bowel permeability via mucin disruption in the presence of pancreatic enzymes can induce shock and increase systemic protease activation in the absence of ischemia, implicating bowel mucin disruption as a key event in early ischemia. Digestive enzymes and their products, if allowed to penetrate the gut wall may trigger multiorgan failure and death.
Autodigestion; small intestine permeability; pancreatic enzymes; inflammatory mediators
One of the major challenges for hypertension research is to identify the mechanisms that cause the comorbidities encountered in many hypertensive patients, as seen in the metabolic syndrome. An emerging body of evidence suggests that human and experimental hypertensives may exhibit uncontrolled activity of proteinases, including the family of matrix metalloproteinases, recognized for their ability to restructure the extracellular matrix proteins and to play a role in hypertrophy. We propose a new hypothesis that provides a molecular framework for the comorbidities of hypertension, diabetes, capillary rarefaction, immune suppression, and other cell and organ dysfunctions due to early and uncontrolled extracellular receptor cleavage by active proteinases. The proteinase and signaling activity in hypertensives requires further detailed analysis of the proteinase expression, the mechanisms causing proenzyme activation, and identification of the proteinase substrate. This work may open the opportunity for reassessment of old interventions and development of new interventions to manage hypertension and its comorbidities.
Matrix metalloproteinase; MMP; ADAM; Metabolic syndrome; Hypertrophy; Insulin resistance; Capillary rarefaction; Immune suppression; Insulin receptor; Beta-adrenergic receptor; Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor; NF-kappaB; Spontaneously hypertensive rat; Essential hypertension; Microcirculation; Artery; Arteriole; Extracellular matrix protein; Proteinase inhibitor; Angiotensin-converting enzyme; Angiotensin; Hypertension; Metabolic syndrome; Pathogenesis
Obesity is a state of subclinical inflammation resulting in loss of function of insulin receptors and decreased insulin sensitivity. Inhibition of the inflammatory enzymes, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), for 6 months in rodent models restores insulin receptor function and insulin sensitivity.
This 12-week double-blind, randomized, placebo (PL)-controlled proof-of-concept study was performed to determine if the MMP inhibitor (MMPI), doxycycline, decreased global markers of inflammation and enhanced muscle insulin sensitivity in obese people with type 2 diabetes (DM2). The study included non-DM2 controls (n = 15), and DM2 subjects randomized to PL (n = 13) or doxycycline 100 mg twice daily (MMPI; n = 11). All participants were evaluated on Day 1; MMPI and PL groups were also evaluated after 84 days of treatment.
There was a significant decrease in inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (P < 0.05) and myeloperoxidase (P = 0.01) in the MMPI but not PL group. The MMPI also significantly increased skeletal muscle activated/total insulin signaling mediators: 3’phosphoinositide kinase-1 (PDK1) (p < 0.03), protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) (p < 0.004), and glycogen synthase kinase 3ß (GSK3ß) (p < 0.03).
This study demonstrated short term treatment of people with diabetes with an MMPI resulted in decreased inflammation and improved insulin sensitivity. Larger, longer studies are warranted to determine if doxycycline can improve glucose control in people with diabetes.
Diabetes; Doxycycline; Insulin sensitivity; Matrix metalloproteinases; Myeloperoxidase
Hemorrhagic shock (HS) and splanchnic arterial occlusion (SAO) followed by reperfusion are associated with high mortality. However, rapid cardiovascular failure and death may also occur prior to reperfusion in HS and SAO. We show in a rat SAO model that upon gut ischemia, mean arterial blood pressure transiently elevates and then drops fatally in one of two time courses: (i) gradually over ~1 to 3 hours or (ii) rapidly (often by more than 80 mmHg) over a period of 1 to 6 minutes. We hypothesize that fast fatal pressure drops (FFPD) are due to failure of autonomic nervous system control. To test this, we treated rats with glucose (10%) in the small intestinal lumen and intramuscular xylazine to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, or with a muscarinic anti-cholinergic (glycopyrrolate) or by total subdiaphragmatic vagotomy (TSV) to attenuate parasympathetic nervous system activity. We also tested nafamostat mesilate (ANGD), a protease inhibitor efficacious in preventing blood pressure loss in SAO with reperfusion, in the intestinal lumen. 50% of animals receiving xylazine and glucose died by FFPD (vs. 33% with neither, NS).
TSV or glycopyrrolate treatment significantly reduced the incidence to 0% (P<0.008), though slow fatal pressure drops (SFPDs) still occurred. ANGD did not prevent FFPDs, but delayed onset of SFPDs (P<0.013). These results suggest that gut ischemia can cause sudden death via an autonomic nervous system mechanism and that SAO with glucose and xylazine may serve as a useful model for study of neurogenic shock or autonomic dysregulation associated with sudden death.
autonomic nervous system; vagotomy; glycopyrrolate; splanchnic arterial occlusion; gut; neurogenic shock; sudden cardiac death; sudden infant death syndrome
Leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium is abnormal in hypertension. We have recently shown that spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) have circulating leukocytes with enhanced CD18 receptor cleavage. In the current study, we investigate expression levels of its counter receptor, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1), and its possible proteolytic cleavage in the SHR and control Wistar rat.
ICAM-1 was labeled on tissue sections with two antibodies targeting its extracellular and intracellular domains and evaluated by light absorption measurements. The in situ cleavage of ICAM-1 was assessed by treating vessel sections with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-7, MMP-9 and elastase.
SHRs showed a significant increase in ICAM-1 expression in liver and kidney compared with Wistar rats. The liver and kidney glomeruli exhibit a discrepancy in label density between intra- and extracellular antibodies, which suggests that enzymatic cleavage may be a factor determining ICAM-1 distribution. MMP-7 and MMP-9, which are elevated in SHR plasma, and elastase, which has elevated activity in SHR neutrophils, cleave the extracellular domain of ICAM-1 when applied to the tissue.
ICAM-1 expression in SHRs is upregulated in a tissue-specific manner. Proteolytic cleavage of the extracellular domain of ICAM-1 and accumulation in kidney glomeruli may play a role in the renal involvement of inflammation.
Leukocyte adhesion; Endothelium; Receptor cleavage; Arterioles; Venules
Observations in our laboratory provide evidence of vascular islands, defined as disconnected endothelial cell segments, in the adult microcirculation. The objective of this study was to determine if vascular islands are involved in angiogenesis during microvascular network growth.
Mesenteric tissues, which allow visualization of entire microvascular networks at a single cell level, were harvested from unstimulated adult male Wistar rats and Wistar rats 3 and 10 days post angiogenesis stimulation by mast cell degranulation with compound 48/80. Tissues were immunolabeled for PECAM and BRDU. Identification of vessel lumens via injection of FITC-dextran confirmed that endothelial cell segments were disconnected from nearby patent networks. Stimulated networks displayed increases in vascular area, length density, and capillary sprouting. On day 3, the percentage of islands with at least one BRDU-positive cell increased compared to the unstimulated level and was equal to the percentage of capillary sprouts with at least one BRDU-positive cell. At day 10, the number of vascular islands per vascular area dramatically decreased compared to unstimulated and day 3 levels.
These results show that vascular islands have the ability to proliferate and suggest that they are able to incorporate into the microcirculation during the initial stages of microvascular network growth.
Angiogenesis; Microcirculation; Mesentery; Proliferation; Endothelial cell
We recently demonstrated that migrating human leukocytes respond to normal physiologic fluid stresses (~1dyn/cm2) by active control of local cytoplasmic extensions (pseudopods). To better understand the governing mechanisms of this response, we determined the fluid stress distributions on individual migrating leukocytes whose shapes were reconstructed with serial confocal microscopy. The flow over adherent leukocytes was computed by solution of the Stokes equation for plasma motion over the cell membrane. The fluid stresses are highest at the top of the cell and lowest in the substrate contact region. Pseudopods experience enhanced shear stresses but at lower values than at the top. Interestingly, leukocytes retract pseudopods in all regions and not only at sites with maximum fluid stresses. Therefore we hypothesized that sub-micron membrane folds (microvilli) serve to locally enhance the fluid stress on the cell. Using a separate model, we found that tips of microvilli experience greatly increased levels of stresses while the troughs between microvilli are shielded from fluid shear. This evidence suggests that the highly irregular shape of active leukocytes leads to fluid stresses that may stimulate local mechanosensory responses at many sites on the plasma membrane, even if they are located close to the cell-substrate contact region.
leukocyte; mechanotransduction; fluid shear stress; finite element method
Hemorrhagic shock (HS) is associated with high mortality. A severe decrease in blood pressure causes the intestine, a major site of digestive enzymes, to become permeable – possibly releasing those enzymes into the circulation and peritoneal space, where they may in turn activate other enzymes, e.g. matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). If uncontrolled, these enzymes may result in pathophysiologic cleavage of receptors or plasma proteins. Our first objective was to determine, in compartments outside of the intestine (plasma, peritoneal fluid, brain, heart, liver, and lung) protease activities and select protease concentrations after hemorrhagic shock (2 hours ischemia, 2 hours reperfusion). Our second objective was to determine whether inhibition of proteases in the intestinal lumen with a serine protease inhibitor (ANGD), a process that improves survival after shock in rats, reduces the protease activities distant from the intestine. To determine the protease activity, plasma and peritoneal fluid were incubated with small peptide substrates for trypsin-, chymotrypsin-, and elastase-like activities or with casein, a substrate cleaved by multiple proteases. Gelatinase activities were determined by gelatin gel zymography and a specific MMP-9 substrate. Immunoblotting was used to confirm elevated pancreatic trypsin in plasma, peritoneal fluid, and lung and MMP-9 concentrations in all samples after hemorrhagic shock. Caseinolytic, trypsin-, chymotrypsin-, elastase-like, and MMP-9 activities were all significantly (p<0.05) upregulated after hemorrhagic shock regardless of enteral pretreatment with ANGD. Pancreatic trypsin was detected by immunoblot in the plasma, peritoneal space, and lungs after hemorrhagic shock. MMP-9 concentrations and activities were significantly upregulated after hemorrhagic shock in plasma, peritoneal fluid, heart, liver, and lung. These results indicate that protease activities, including that of trypsin, increase in sites distant from the intestine after hemorrhagic shock. Proteases, including pancreatic proteases, may be shock mediators and potential targets for therapy in shock.
Ventricular myocytes are continuously exposed to fluid shear in vivo by relative movement of laminar sheets and adjacent cells. Preliminary observations have shown that neonatal myocytes respond to fluid shear by increasing their beating rate, which could have an arrhythmogenic effect under elevated shear conditions. The objective of this study is to investigate the characteristics of the fluid shear response in cultured myocytes and to study selected potential mechanisms. Cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes that were spontaneously beating were subjected to low shear rates (5–50/s) in a fluid flow chamber using standard culture medium. The beating rate was measured from digital microscopic recordings. The myocytes reacted to low shear rates by a graded and reversible increase in their spontaneous beating rate of up to 500%. The response to shear was substantially attenuated in the presence of the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (by 86 ± 8%), as well as after incubation with integrin-blocking RGD peptides (by 92 ± 8%). The results suggest that the β-adrenergic signaling pathway and integrin activation, which are known to interact, may play an important role in the response mechanism.
Cardiomyocytes; cell culture; flow chamber; shear rate; mechanotransduction
Analyses of microvascular networks with traditional tracer filling techniques suggest that the blood and lymphatic systems are distinct without direct communications, yet involvement of common growth factors during angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis suggest that interactions at the capillary level are possible. In order to investigate the structural basis for lymphatic/blood endothelial cell connections during normal physiological growth, the objective of this study was to characterize the spatial relations between lymphatic and blood capillaries in adult rat mesenteric tissue. Using immunohistochemical methods, adult male Wistar rat mesenteric tissues were labeled with antibodies against PECAM (an endothelial marker) and LYVE-1, Prox-1, or Podoplanin (lymphatic endothelial markers) or NG2 (a pericyte marker). Positive PECAM labeling identified apparent lymphatic/blood endothelial cell connections at the capillary level characterized by direct contact or direct alignment with one another. In PECAM labeled networks, a subset of the lymphatic and blood capillary blind ends were connected with each other. Intravital imaging of FITC-Albumin injected through the femoral vein did not identify lymphatic vessels. At contact sites, lymphatic endothelial markers did not extend along blood capillary segments. However, PECAM positive lymphatic sprouts, structurally similar to blood capillary sprouts, lacked observable lymphatic marker labeling. These observations suggest that non-lumenal lymphatic/blood endothelial cell interactions exist in unstimulated adult microvascular networks and highlight the potential for lymphatic/blood endothelial cell plasticity.
Microcirculation; Angiogenesis; Lymphangiogenesis; Endothelial Cell
Besides an elevated blood pressure, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) has multiple microvascular complications including endothelial apoptosis with capillary rarefaction. The SHR also has elevated levels of proteolytic (e.g. matrix metalloproteinase, MMP) activity and apoptosis in microvascular cells compared to its normotensive control, but the specific enzymes involved and the molecular mechanism for apoptosis are unknown. We hypothesize that selected MMPs cleave the extracellular domain of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), which in turn causes endothelial apoptosis and capillary rarefaction. Zymographic analysis shows that gelatinase (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and matrilysin (MMP-7) activities are significantly enhanced in SHR plasma. The SHR has lower levels of the extracellular domains of VEGFR-2 in cardiac microvessels. Furthermore, application of plasma from the SHR, or purified MMP-9 and MMP-7 to naïve cells causes cleavage of the extracellular domain of VEGFR-2. The receptor cleavage was blocked by broad-acting MMP inhibitors (GM6001 1 μM, EDTA 10 mM, or doxycycline 11.3 μM). Chronic MMP inhibition (doxycycline, 5.4 mg/kg/day, 24 weeks) attenuated VEGFR-2 cleavage, endothelial apoptosis, and capillary rarefaction in the SHR. These results suggest elevated plasma MMP activities may cleave VEGFR-2, resulting in endothelial apoptosis and capillary rarefaction in the SHR.
Capillary density; Hypertension; Matrix metalloproteinases; Vascular endothelial growth factor
Leukocyte activation, including adhesion molecule expression, oxygen radical generation and, in animal studies, pseudopod formation, is a hallmark of hypertension. This study examined pseudopod and bleb formation and demonstrates that leukocytes from hypertensive individuals are more susceptible to produce membrane blebs than leukocytes from normotensive individuals. Bleb formation is likely indicative of apoptosis, thus this observation adds to previous observations of increased apoptosis in various tissues in hypertension.