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1.  Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptor–2 Deficiency Confers Protection against Bleomycin-Induced Lung Injury and Fibrosis in Mice 
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating disease characterized by alveolar epithelial cell injury, the accumulation of fibroblasts/myofibroblasts, and the deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) signaling through its G protein–coupled receptors is critical for its various biological functions. Recently, LPA and LPA receptor 1 were implicated in lung fibrogenesis. However, the role of other LPA receptors in fibrosis remains unclear. Here, we use a bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis model to investigate the roles of LPA2 in pulmonary fibrogenesis. In the present study, we found that LPA2 knockout (Lpar2−/−) mice were protected against bleomycin-induced lung injury, fibrosis, and mortality, compared with wild-type control mice. Furthermore, LPA2 deficiency attenuated the bleomycin-induced expression of fibronectin (FN), α–smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and collagen in lung tissue, as well as levels of IL-6, transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β), and total protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. In human lung fibroblasts, the knockdown of LPA2 attenuated the LPA-induced expression of TGF-β1 and the differentiation of lung fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, resulting in the decreased expression of FN, α-SMA, and collagen, as well as decreased activation of extracellular regulated kinase 1/2, Akt, Smad3, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Moreover, the knockdown of LPA2 with small interfering RNA also mitigated the TGF-β1–induced differentiation of lung fibroblasts. In addition, LPA2 deficiency significantly attenuated the bleomycin-induced apoptosis of alveolar and bronchial epithelial cells in the mouse lung. Together, our data indicate that the knockdown of LPA2 attenuated bleomycin-induced lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis, and this may be related to an inhibition of the LPA-induced expression of TGF-β and the activation and differentiation of fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC3931116  PMID: 23808384
lysophosphatidic acid; LPA2; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; transforming growth factor–β
2.  Role of Migratory Inhibition Factor in Age-Related Susceptibility to Radiation Lung Injury via NF-E2–Related Factor–2 and Antioxidant Regulation 
Microvascular injury and increased vascular leakage are prominent features of radiation-induced lung injury (RILI), and often follow cancer-associated thoracic irradiation. Our previous studies demonstrated that polymorphisms in the gene (MIF) encoding macrophage migratory inhibition factor (MIF), a multifunctional pleiotropic cytokine, confer susceptibility to acute inflammatory lung injury and increased vascular permeability, particularly in senescent mice. In this study, we exposed wild-type and genetically engineered mif−/− mice to 20 Gy single-fraction thoracic radiation to investigate the age-related role of MIF in murine RILI (mice were aged 8 wk, 8 mo, or 16 mo). Relative to 8-week-old mice, decreased MIF was observed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung tissue of 8- to 16-month-old wild-type mice. In addition, radiated 8- to 16-month-old mif−/− mice exhibited significantly decreased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid total antioxidant concentrations with progressive age-related decreases in the nuclear expression of NF-E2–related factor–2 (Nrf2), a transcription factor involved in antioxidant gene up-regulation in response to reactive oxygen species. This was accompanied by decreases in both protein concentrations (NQO1, GCLC, and heme oxygenase–1) and mRNA concentrations (Gpx1, Prdx1, and Txn1) of Nrf2-influenced antioxidant gene targets. In addition, MIF-silenced (short, interfering RNA) human lung endothelial cells failed to express Nrf2 after oxidative (H2O2) challenge, an effect reversed by recombinant MIF administration. However, treatment with an antioxidant (glutathione reduced ester), but not an Nrf2 substrate (N-acetyl cysteine), protected aged mif−/− mice from RILI. These findings implicate an important role for MIF in radiation-induced changes in lung-cell antioxidant concentrations via Nrf2, and suggest that MIF may contribute to age-related susceptibility to thoracic radiation.
PMCID: PMC3824032  PMID: 23526214
radiation pneumonitis; lung vascular permeability; macrophage migratory inhibition factor; Nrf2; antioxidant system; aging
3.  MicroRNA Regulation of Nonmuscle Myosin Light Chain Kinase Expression in Human Lung Endothelium 
Increased lung vascular permeability, the consequence of endothelial cell (EC) barrier dysfunction, is a cardinal feature of inflammatory conditions such as acute lung injury and sepsis and leads to lethal physiological dysfunction characterized by alveolar flooding, hypoxemia, and pulmonary edema. We previously demonstrated that the nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase isoform (nmMLCK) plays a key role in agonist-induced pulmonary EC barrier regulation. The present study evaluated posttranscriptional regulation of MYLK expression, the gene encoding nmMLCK, via 3′ untranslated region (UTR) binding by microRNAs (miRNAs) with in silico analysis identifying hsa-miR-374a, hsa-miR-374b, hsa-miR-520c-3p, and hsa-miR-1290 as miRNA candidates. We identified increased MYLK gene transcription induced by TNF-α (24 h; 4.7 ± 0.45 fold increase [FI]), LPS (4 h; 2.85 ± 0.15 [FI]), and 18% cyclic stretch (24 h; 4.6 ± 0.24 FI) that was attenuated by transfection of human lung ECs with mimics of hsa-miR-374a, hsa-miR-374b, hsa-miR-520c-3p, or hsa-miR-1290 (20–80% reductions by each miRNA). TNF-α, LPS, and 18% cyclic stretch each increased the activity of a MYLK 3′UTR luciferase reporter (2.5–7.0 FI) with induction reduced by mimics of each miRNA (30–60% reduction). MiRNA inhibitors (antagomirs) for each MYLK miRNA significantly increased 3′UTR luciferase activity (1.2–2.3 FI) and rescued the decreased MLCK-3′UTR reporter activity produced by miRNA mimics (70–110% increases for each miRNA; P < 0.05). These data demonstrate that increased human lung EC expression of MYLK by bioactive agonists (excessive mechanical stress, LPS, TNF-α) is regulated in part by specific miRNAs (hsa-miR-374a, hsa-miR-374b, hsa-miR-520c-3p, and hsa-miR-1290), representing a novel therapeutic strategy for reducing inflammatory lung injury.
PMCID: PMC3727884  PMID: 23492194
miRNA; MLCK; acute lung injury; ventilator-induced lung injury; endothelial cells
4.  Sphingosine-1–Phosphate, FTY720, and Sphingosine-1–Phosphate Receptors in the Pathobiology of Acute Lung Injury 
Acute lung injury (ALI) attributable to sepsis or mechanical ventilation and subacute lung injury because of ionizing radiation (RILI) share profound increases in vascular permeability as a key element and a common pathway driving increased morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, despite advances in the understanding of lung pathophysiology, specific therapies do not yet exist for the treatment of ALI or RILI, or for the alleviation of unremitting pulmonary leakage, which serves as a defining feature of the illness. A critical need exists for new mechanistic insights that can lead to novel strategies, biomarkers, and therapies to reduce lung injury. Sphingosine 1–phosphate (S1P) is a naturally occurring bioactive sphingolipid that acts extracellularly via its G protein–coupled S1P1–5 as well as intracellularly on various targets. S1P-mediated cellular responses are regulated by the synthesis of S1P, catalyzed by sphingosine kinases 1 and 2, and by the degradation of S1P mediated by lipid phosphate phosphatases, S1P phosphatases, and S1P lyase. We and others have demonstrated that S1P is a potent angiogenic factor that enhances lung endothelial cell integrity and an inhibitor of vascular permeability and alveolar flooding in preclinical animal models of ALI. In addition to S1P, S1P analogues such as 2-amino-2-(2-[4-octylphenyl]ethyl)-1,3-propanediol (FTY720), FTY720 phosphate, and FTY720 phosphonates offer therapeutic potential in murine models of lung injury. This translational review summarizes the roles of S1P, S1P analogues, S1P-metabolizing enzymes, and S1P receptors in the pathophysiology of lung injury, with particular emphasis on the development of potential novel biomarkers and S1P-based therapies for ALI and RILI.
PMCID: PMC3727889  PMID: 23449739
sphingolipids; S1P receptors; sphingosine kinase; S1P lyase; sepsis
5.  Sphingosine-1–Phosphate Receptor–3 Is a Novel Biomarker in Acute Lung Injury 
The inflamed lung exhibits oxidative and nitrative modifications of multiple target proteins, potentially reflecting disease severity and progression. We identified sphingosine-1–phosphate receptor–3 (S1PR3), a critical signaling molecule mediating cell proliferation and vascular permeability, as a nitrated plasma protein in mice with acute lung injury (ALI). We explored S1PR3 as a potential biomarker in murine and human ALI. In vivo nitrated and total S1PR3 concentrations were determined by immunoprecipitation and microarray studies in mice, and by ELISA in human plasma. In vitro nitrated S1PR3 concentrations were evaluated in human lung vascular endothelial cells (ECs) or within microparticles shed from ECs after exposure to barrier-disrupting agonists (LPS, low-molecular-weight hyaluronan, and thrombin). The effects of S1PR3-containing microparticles on EC barrier function were assessed by transendothelial electrical resistance (TER). Nitrated S1PR3 was identified in the plasma of murine ALI and in humans with severe sepsis-induced ALI. Elevated total S1PR3 plasma concentrations (> 251 pg/ml) were linked to sepsis and ALI mortality. In vitro EC exposure to barrier-disrupting agents induced S1PR3 nitration and the shedding of S1PR3-containing microparticles, which significantly reduced TER, consistent with increased permeability. These changes were attenuated by reduced S1PR3 expression (small interfering RNAs). These results suggest that microparticles containing nitrated S1PR3 shed into the circulation during inflammatory lung states, and represent a novel ALI biomarker linked to disease severity and outcome.
PMCID: PMC3547106  PMID: 22771388
acute lung injury; sphingosine-1–phosphate receptor–3; microparticles; nitration; biomarker
6.  Hydrogen Sulfide Attenuates Particulate Matter–Induced Human Lung Endothelial Barrier Disruption via Combined Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging and Akt Activation 
Exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with increased cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality, although the pathogenic mechanisms are poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that particulate matter (PM) exposure triggers massive oxidative stress in vascular endothelial cells (ECs), resulting in the loss of EC integrity and lung vascular hyperpermeability. We investigated the protective role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), an endogenous gaseous molecule present in the circulation, on PM-induced human lung EC barrier disruption and pulmonary inflammation. Alterations in EC monolayer permeability, as reflected by transendothelial electrical resistance (TER), the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and murine pulmonary inflammatory responses, were studied after exposures to PM and NaSH, an H2S donor. Similar to N-acetyl cysteine (5 mM), NaSH (10 μM) significantly scavenged PM-induced EC ROS and inhibited the oxidative activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Concurrent with these events, NaSH (10 μM) activated Akt, which helps maintain endothelial integrity. Both of these pathways contribute to the protective effect of H2S against PM-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction. Furthermore, NaSH (20 mg/kg) reduced vascular protein leakage, leukocyte infiltration, and proinflammatory cytokine release in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids in a murine model of PM-induced lung inflammation. These data suggest a potentially protective role for H2S in PM-induced inflammatory lung injury and vascular hyperpermeability.
PMCID: PMC3488621  PMID: 22592920
particulate matter; hydrogen sulfide; endothelial permeability; Akt
7.  Conflicting Physiological and Genomic Cardiopulmonary Effects of Recruitment Maneuvers in Murine Acute Lung Injury 
Low tidal volume ventilation, although promoting atelectasis, is a protective strategy against ventilator-induced lung injury. Deep inflation (DI) recruitment maneuvers restore lung volumes, but potentially compromise lung parenchymal and vascular function via repetitive overdistention. Our objective was to examine cardiopulmonary physiological and transcriptional consequences of recruitment maneuvers. C57/BL6 mice challenged with either PBS or LPS via aspiration were placed on mechanical ventilation (5 h) using low tidal volume inflation (TI; 8 μl/g) alone or in combination with intermittent DIs (0.75 ml twice/min). Lung mechanics during TI ventilation significantly deteriorated, as assessed by forced oscillation technique and pressure–volume curves. DI mitigated the TI-induced alterations in lung mechanics, but induced a significant rise in right ventricle systolic pressures and pulmonary vascular resistances, especially in LPS-challenged animals. In addition, DI exacerbated the LPS-induced genome-wide lung inflammatory transcriptome, with prominent dysregulation of a gene cluster involving vascular processes, as well as increases in cytokine concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and plasma. Gene ontology analyses of right ventricular tissue expression profiles also identified inflammatory signatures, as well as apoptosis and membrane organization ontologies, as potential elements in the response to acute pressure overload. Our results, although confirming the improvement in lung mechanics offered by DI, highlight a detrimental impact in sustaining inflammatory response and exacerbating lung vascular dysfunction, events contributing to increases in right ventricle afterload. These novel insights should be integrated into the clinical assessment of the risk/benefit of recruitment maneuver strategies.
PMCID: PMC3359949  PMID: 22135358
mechanical ventilation; microarray; pulmonary hypertension; right ventricle; acute lung injury
8.  Type 2 Deiodinase and Host Responses of Sepsis and Acute Lung Injury 
The role of thyroid hormone metabolism in clinical outcomes of the critically ill remains unclear. Using preclinical models of acute lung injury (ALI), we assessed the gene and protein expression of type 2 deiodinase (DIO2), a key driver for synthesis of biologically active triiodothyronine, and addressed potential association of DIO2 genetic variants with ALI in a multiethnic cohort. DIO2 gene and protein expression levels in murine lung were validated by microarrays and immunoblotting. Lung injury was assessed by levels of bronchoalveolar lavage protein and leukocytes. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped and ALI susceptibility association assessed. Significant increases in both DIO2 gene and D2 protein expression were observed in lung tissues from murine ALI models (LPS- and ventilator-induced lung injury), with expression directly increasing with the extent of lung injury. Mice with reduced levels of DIO2 expression (by silencing RNA) demonstrated reduced thyroxine levels in plasma and increased lung injury (increased bronchoalveolar lavage protein and leukocytes), suggesting a protective role for DIO2 in ALI. The G (Ala) allele of the Thr92Ala coding single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs225014) was protective in severe sepsis and severe sepsis–associated ALI after adjustments for age, sex, and genetic ancestry in a logistic regression model in European Americans. Our studies indicate that DIO2 is a novel ALI candidate gene, the nonsynonymous Thr92Ala coding variant of which confers ALI protection. Increased DIO2 expression may dampen the ALI inflammatory response, thereby strengthening the premise that thyroid hormone metabolism is intimately linked to the integrated response to inflammatory injury in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3262665  PMID: 21685153
acute respiratory distress syndrome; hypothyroidism; mechanical ventilation; sepsis
9.  A Sphingosine 1–Phosphate 1 Receptor Agonist Modulates Brain Death–Induced Neurogenic Pulmonary Injury 
Lung transplantation remains the only viable therapy for patients with end-stage lung disease. However, the full utilization of this strategy is severely compromised by a lack of donor lung availability. The vast majority of donor lungs available for transplantation are from individuals after brain death (BD). Unfortunately, the early autonomic storm that accompanies BD often results in neurogenic pulmonary edema (NPE), producing varying degrees of lung injury or leading to primary graft dysfunction after transplantation. We demonstrated that sphingosine 1–phosphate (S1P)/analogues, which are major barrier-enhancing agents, reduce vascular permeability via the S1P1 receptor, S1PR1. Because primary lung graft dysfunction is induced by lung vascular endothelial cell barrier dysfunction, we hypothesized that the S1PR1 agonist, SEW-2871, may attenuate NPE when administered to the donor shortly after BD. Significant lung injury was observed after BD, with increases of approximately 60% in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) total protein, cell counts, and lung tissue wet/dry (W/D) weight ratios. In contrast, rats receiving SEW-2871 (0.1 mg/kg) 15 minutes after BD and assessed after 4 hours exhibited significant lung protection (∼ 50% reduction, P = 0.01), as reflected by reduced BAL protein/albumin, cytokines, cellularity, and lung tissue wet/dry weight ratio. Microarray analysis at 4 hours revealed a global impact of both BD and SEW on lung gene expression, with a differential gene expression of enriched immune-response/inflammation pathways across all groups. Overall, SEW served to attenuate the BD-mediated up-regulation of gene expression. Two potential biomarkers, TNF and chemokine CC motif receptor-like 2, exhibited gene array dysregulation. We conclude that SEW-2871 significantly attenuates BD-induced lung injury, and may serve as a potential candidate to improve human donor availability.
PMCID: PMC3262681  PMID: 21617203
neurogenic pulmonary edema; lung injury; sphingosine 1–phosphate; sphingolipids; lung transplant donors
10.  Protection of LPS-Induced Murine Acute Lung Injury by Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Lyase Suppression 
A defining feature of acute lung injury (ALI) is the increased lung vascular permeability and alveolar flooding, which leads to associated morbidity and mortality. Specific therapies to alleviate the unremitting vascular leak in ALI are not currently clinically available; however, our prior studies indicate a protective role for sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in animal models of ALI with reductions in lung edema. As S1P levels are tightly regulated by synthesis and degradation, we tested the hypothesis that inhibition of S1P lyase (S1PL), the enzyme that irreversibly degrades S1P via cleavage, could ameliorate ALI. Intratracheal instillation of LPS to mice enhanced S1PL expression, decreased S1P levels in lung tissue, and induced lung inflammation and injury. LPS challenge of wild-type mice receiving 2-acetyl-4(5)-[1(R),2(S),3(R),4-tetrahydroxybutyl]-imidazole to inhibit S1PL or S1PL+/− mice resulted in increased S1P levels in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluids and reduced lung injury and inflammation. Moreover, down-regulation of S1PL expression by short interfering RNA (siRNA) in primary human lung microvascular endothelial cells increased S1P levels, and attenuated LPS-mediated phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and I-κB, IL-6 secretion, and endothelial barrier disruption via Rac1 activation. These results identify a novel role for intracellularly generated S1P in protection against ALI and suggest S1PL as a potential therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3175568  PMID: 21148740
intracellular sphingosine-1-phosphate; sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase; IL-6; transendothelial resistance; acute lung injury
11.  Interleukin-1 Receptor–Associated Kinase 3 Gene Associates with Susceptibility to Acute Lung Injury 
Sepsis is the most common cause of acute lung injury (ALI), leading to organ dysfunction and death in critically ill patients. Previous studies associated variants of interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase genes (IRAKs) with differential immune responses to pathogens and with outcomes during sepsis, and revealed that increased expression levels of the IRAK3 gene were correlated with poor outcomes during sepsis. Here we explored whether common variants of the IRAK3 gene were associated with susceptibility to, and outcomes of, severe sepsis. After our discovery of polymorphism, we genotyped a subset of seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 336 population-based control subjects and 214 patients with severe sepsis, collected as part of a prospective study of adults from a Spanish network of intensive care units. Whereas IRAK3 SNPs were not associated with susceptibility to severe sepsis, rs10506481 showed a significant association with the development of ALI among patients with sepsis (P = 0.007). The association remained significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons, population stratification, and clinical variables (odds ratio, 2.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.15–5.47; P = 0.021). By imputation, we revealed three additional SNPs independently associated with ALI (P < 0.01). One of these (rs1732887) predicted the disruption of a putative human–mouse conserved transcription factor binding site, and demonstrated functional effects in vitro (P = 0.017). Despite the need for replication in independent studies, our data suggest that common SNPs in the IRAK3 gene may be determinants of sepsis-induced ALI.
PMCID: PMC3265218  PMID: 21297081
SNP; polymorphism; case-control; Toll-like receptor; severe sepsis
12.  Simvastatin Attenuates Radiation-Induced Murine Lung Injury and Dysregulated Lung Gene Expression 
Novel therapies are desperately needed for radiation-induced lung injury (RILI), which, despite aggressive corticosteroid therapy, remains a potentially fatal and dose-limiting complication of thoracic radiotherapy. We assessed the utility of simvastatin, an anti-inflammatory and lung barrier–protective agent, in a dose- and time-dependent murine model of RILI (18–(25 Gy). Simvastatin reduced multiple RILI indices, including vascular leak, leukocyte infiltration, and histological evidence of oxidative stress, while reversing RILI-associated dysregulated gene expression, including p53, nuclear factor–erythroid-2–related factor, and sphingolipid metabolic pathway genes. To identify key regulators of simvastatin-mediated RILI protection, we integrated whole-lung gene expression data obtained from radiated and simvastatin-treated mice with protein–protein interaction network analysis (single-network analysis of proteins). Topological analysis of the gene product interaction network identified eight top-prioritized genes (Ccna2a, Cdc2, fcer1 g, Syk, Vav3, Mmp9, Itgam, Cd44) as regulatory nodes within an activated RILI network. These studies identify the involvement of specific genes and gene networks in RILI pathobiology, and confirm that statins represent a novel strategy to limit RILI.
PMCID: PMC3095940  PMID: 20508068
radiation pneumonitis; lung vascular permeability; simvastatin; gene dysregulation; protein–protein interaction
13.  Non–Muscle Myosin Light Chain Kinase Isoform Is a Viable Molecular Target in Acute Inflammatory Lung Injury 
Acute lung injury (ALI) and mechanical ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI), major causes of acute respiratory failure with elevated morbidity and mortality, are characterized by significant pulmonary inflammation and alveolar/vascular barrier dysfunction. Previous studies highlighted the role of the non–muscle myosin light chain kinase isoform (nmMLCK) as an essential element of the inflammatory response, with variants in the MYLK gene that contribute to ALI susceptibility. To define nmMLCK involvement further in acute inflammatory syndromes, we used two murine models of inflammatory lung injury, induced by either an intratracheal administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS model) or mechanical ventilation with increased tidal volumes (the VILI model). Intravenous delivery of the membrane-permeant MLC kinase peptide inhibitor, PIK, produced a dose-dependent attenuation of both LPS-induced lung inflammation and VILI (∼50% reductions in alveolar/vascular permeability and leukocyte influx). Intravenous injections of nmMLCK silencing RNA, either directly or as cargo within angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) antibody–conjugated liposomes (to target the pulmonary vasculature selectively), decreased nmMLCK lung expression (∼70% reduction) and significantly attenuated LPS-induced and VILI-induced lung inflammation (∼40% reduction in bronchoalveolar lavage protein). Compared with wild-type mice, nmMLCK knockout mice were significantly protected from VILI, with significant reductions in VILI-induced gene expression in biological pathways such as nrf2-mediated oxidative stress, coagulation, p53-signaling, leukocyte extravasation, and IL-6–signaling. These studies validate nmMLCK as an attractive target for ameliorating the adverse effects of dysregulated lung inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3028257  PMID: 20139351
endotoxin/lipopolysaccharide; nmMLCK; mice; lung injury; endothelial barrier
14.  Differential Effects of Sphingosine 1–Phosphate Receptors on Airway and Vascular Barrier Function in the Murine Lung 
The therapeutic options for ameliorating the profound vascular permeability, alveolar flooding, and organ dysfunction that accompanies acute inflammatory lung injury (ALI) remain limited. Extending our previous finding that the intravenous administration of the sphingolipid angiogenic factor, sphingosine 1–phosphate (S1P), attenuates inflammatory lung injury and vascular permeability via ligation of S1PR1, we determine that a direct intratracheal or intravenous administration of S1P, or a selective S1P receptor (S1PR1) agonist (SEW-2871), produces highly concentration-dependent barrier-regulatory responses in the murine lung. The intratracheal or intravenous administration of S1P or SEW-2871 at < 0.3 mg/kg was protective against LPS-induced murine lung inflammation and permeability. However, intratracheal delivery of S1P at 0.5 mg/kg (for 2 h) resulted in significant alveolar–capillary barrier disruption (with a 42% increase in bronchoalveolar lavage protein), and produced rapid lethality when delivered at 2 mg/kg. Despite the greater selectivity for S1PR1, intratracheally delivered SEW-2871 at 0.5 mg/kg also resulted in significant alveolar–capillary barrier disruption, but was not lethal at 2 mg/kg. Consistent with the S1PR1 regulation of alveolar/vascular barrier function, wild-type mice pretreated with the S1PR1 inverse agonist, SB-649146, or S1PR1+/− mice exhibited reduced S1P/SEW-2871–mediated barrier protection after challenge with LPS. In contrast, S1PR2−/− knockout mice as well as mice with reduced S1PR3 expression (via silencing S1PR3-containing nanocarriers) were protected against LPS-induced barrier disruption compared with control mice. These studies underscore the potential therapeutic effects of highly selective S1PR1 receptor agonists in reducing inflammatory lung injury, and highlight the critical role of the S1P delivery route, S1PR1 agonist concentration, and S1PR1 expression in target tissues.
PMCID: PMC2951871  PMID: 19749179
SEW-2871; LPS; SB-649146; S1P; lung edema
15.  Particulate Matter Disrupts Human Lung Endothelial Barrier Integrity via ROS- and p38 MAPK–Dependent Pathways 
Epidemiologic studies have linked exposure to airborne pollutant particulate matter (PM) with increased cardiopulmonary mortality and morbidity. The mechanisms of PM-mediated lung pathophysiology, however, remain unknown. We tested the hypothesis that PM, via enhanced oxidative stress, disrupts lung endothelial cell (EC) barrier integrity, thereby enhancing organ dysfunction. Using PM collected from Ft. McHenry Tunnel (Baltimore, MD), we assessed PM-mediated changes in transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) (a highly sensitive measure of barrier function), reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation in human pulmonary artery EC. PM induced significant dose (10–100 μg/ml)- and time (0–10 h)-dependent EC barrier disruption reflected by reduced TER values. Exposure of human lung EC to PM resulted in significant ROS generation, which was directly involved in PM-mediated EC barrier dysfunction, as N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC, 5 mM) pretreatment abolished both ROS production and barrier disruption induced by PM. Furthermore, PM induced p38 MAPK activation and HSP27 phosphorylation, events that were both attenuated by NAC. In addition, PM-induced EC barrier disruption was partially prevented by the p38 MAP kinase inhibitor SB203580 (10 μM) as well as by reduced expression of either p38 MAPK β or HSP27 (siRNA). These results demonstrate that PM induces ROS generation in human lung endothelium, resulting in oxidative stress–mediated EC barrier disruption via p38 MAPK- and HSP27-dependent pathways. These findings support a novel mechanism for PM-induced lung dysfunction and adverse cardiopulmonary outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2848737  PMID: 19520919
endothelial permeability; HSP27; particulate matter; p38 MAP kinase; ROS
16.  Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Governs Endothelial Cell Sensitivity to LPS-Induced Apoptosis 
Human endothelial cells (EC) are typically resistant to the apoptotic effects of stimuli associated with lung disease. The determinants of this resistance remain incompletely understood. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a proinflammatory cytokine produced by human pulmonary artery EC (HPAEC). Its expression increases in response to various death-inducing stimuli, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We show here that silencing MIF expression by RNA interference (MIF siRNA) dramatically reduces MIF mRNA expression and the LPS-induced increase in MIF protein levels, thereby sensitizing HPAECs to LPS-induced cell death. Addition of recombinant human MIF (rhMIF) protein prevents the death-sensitizing effect of MIF siRNA. A common mediator of apoptosis resistance in ECs is the death effector domain (DED)-containing protein, FLIP (FLICE-like inhibitory protein). We show that LPS induces a transcription-independent increase in the short isoform of FLIP (FLIPs). This increase is blocked by MIF siRNA but restored with the addition of recombinant MIF protein (rHMIF). While FLIPs siRNA also sensitizes HPAECs to LPS-induced death, the addition of rhMIF does not affect this sensitization, placing MIF upstream of FLIPs in preventing HPAEC death. These studies demonstrate that MIF is an endogenous pro-survival factor in HPAECs and identify a novel mechanism for its role in apoptosis resistance through the regulation of FLIPs. These results show that MIF can protect vascular endothelial cells from inflammation-associated cell damage.
PMCID: PMC2438450  PMID: 18239193
endothelial cells; macrophage migration inhibitory factor; FLICE-like inhibitory protein; apoptosis
17.  EGFR-Activated Signaling and Actin Remodeling Regulate Cyclic Stretch–Induced NRF2-ARE Activation 
Cyclic stretch (CS) associated with mechanical ventilation (MV) can cause excessive alveolar and endothelial distention, resulting in lung injury and inflammation. Antioxidant enzymes (AOEs) play a major role in suppressing these effects. The transcription factor Nrf2, via the antioxidant response element (ARE), alleviates pulmonary toxicant- and oxidant-induced oxidative stress by up-regulating the expression of several AOEs. Although gene expression profiling has revealed the induction of AOEs in the lungs of rodents exposed to MV, the mechanisms by which mechanical forces, such as CS, regulate the activation of Nrf2-dependent ARE-transcriptional responses are poorly understood. To mimic mechanical stress associated with MV, we have cultured pulmonary alveolar epithelial and endothelial cells on collagen I–coated BioFlex plates and subjected them to CS. CS exposure stimulated ARE-driven transcriptional responses and subsequent AOE expression. Ectopic expression of a dominant-negative Nrf2 suppressed the CS-stimulated ARE-driven responses. Our findings suggest that actin remodeling is necessary but not sufficient for high-level CS-induced ARE activation in both epithelial and endothelial cells. We also found that inhibition of EGFR activity by a pharmacologic agent ablated the CS-induced ARE transcriptional response in both cell types. Additional studies revealed that amphiregulin, an EGFR ligand, regulates this process. We further demonstrated that the PI3K-Akt pathway acts as the downstream effector of EGFR and regulates CS-induced ARE-activation in an oxidative stress–dependent manner. Collectively, these novel findings suggest that EGFR-activated signaling and actin remodeling act in concert to regulate the CS-induced Nrf2-ARE transcriptional response and subsequent AOE expression.
PMCID: PMC1899320  PMID: 17008637
oxidative stress; MAP kinases; mechanical stress; antioxidant response element; lung
18.  Respiratory Epithelial Gene Expression in Patients with Mild and Severe Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease 
Despite having identical cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator genotypes, individuals with ΔF508 homozygous cystic fibrosis (CF) demonstrate significant variability in severity of pulmonary disease. This investigation used high-density oligonucleotide microarray analysis of nasal respiratory epithelium to investigate the molecular basis of phenotypic differences in CF by (1) identifying differences in gene expression between ΔF508 homozygotes in the most severe 20th percentile of lung disease by forced expiratory volume in 1 s and those in the most mild 20th percentile of lung disease and (2) identifying differences in gene expression between ΔF508 homozygotes and age-matched non-CF control subjects. Microarray results from 23 participants (12 CF, 11 non-CF) met the strict quality control guidelines and were used for final data analysis. A total of 652 of the 11,867 genes identified as present in 75% of the samples were significantly differentially expressed in one of the three disease phenotypes: 30 in non-CF, 53 in mild CF, and 569 in severe CF. An analysis of genes differentially expressed by severity of CF lung disease demonstrated significant upregulation in severe CF of genes involved in protein ubiquination (P < 0.04), mitochondrial oxidoreductase activity (P < 0.01), and lipid metabolism (P < 0.03). Analysis of genes with decreased expression in patients with CF compared with control subjects demonstrated significant downregulation of genes involved in airway defense (P < 0.047) and protein metabolism (P < 0.048). This study suggests that differences in CF lung phenotype are associated with differences in expression of genes involving airway defense, protein ubiquination, and mitochondrial oxidoreductase activity and identifies specific new candidate modifiers of the CF phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2643286  PMID: 16614352
cystic fibrosis; gene expression; phenotype; respiratory epithelium
19.  Novel Polymorphisms in the Myosin Light Chain Kinase Gene Confer Risk for Acute Lung Injury 
The genetic basis of acute lung injury (ALI) is poorly understood. The myosin light chain kinase (MYLK) gene encodes the nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase isoform, a multifunctional protein involved in the inflammatory response (apoptosis, vascular permeability, leukocyte diapedesis). To examine MYLK as a novel candidate gene in sepsis-associated ALI, we sequenced exons, exon–intron boundaries, and 2 kb of 5′ UTR of the MYLK, which revealed 51 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Potential association of 28 MYLK SNPs with sepsis-associated ALI were evaluated in a case-control sample of 288 European American subjects (EAs) with sepsis alone, subjects with sepsis-associated ALI, or healthy control subjects, and a sample population of 158 African American subjects (AAs) with sepsis and ALI. Significant single locus associations in EAs were observed between four MYLK SNPs and the sepsis phenotype (P < 0.001), with an additional SNP associated with the ALI phenotype (P = 0.03). A significant association of a single SNP (identical to the SNP identified in EAs) was observed in AAs with sepsis (P = 0.002) and with ALI (P = 0.01). Three sepsis risk-conferring haplotypes in EAs were defined downstream of start codon of smooth muscle MYLK isoform, a region containing putative regulatory elements (P < 0.001). In contrast, multiple haplotypic analyses revealed an ALI-specific, risk-conferring haplotype at 5′ of the MYLK gene in both European and African Americans and an additional 3′ region haplotype only in African Americans. These data strongly implicate MYLK genetic variants to confer increased risk of sepsis and sepsis-associated ALI.
PMCID: PMC2644210  PMID: 16399953
MYLK/MLCK; genetic association; SNP; ALI; sepsis
20.  Pluripotent Allospecific CD8+ Effector T Cells Traffic to Lung in Murine Obliterative Airway Disease 
Long-term success in lung transplantation is limited by obliterative bronchiolitis, whereas T cell effector mechanisms in this process remain incompletely understood. Using the mouse heterotopic allogeneic airway transplant model, we studied T cell effector responses during obliterative airways disease (OAD). Allospecific CD8+IFN-γ+ T cells were detected in airway allografts, with significant coexpression of TNF-α and granzyme B. Therefore, using IFN-γ as a surrogate marker, we assessed the distribution and kinetics of extragraft allo-specific T cells during OAD. Robust allospecific IFN-γ was produced by draining the lymph nodes, spleen, and lung mononuclear cells from allograft, but not isograft recipients by Day 14, and significantly decreased by Day 28. Although the majority of allospecific T cells were CD8+, allospecific CD4+ T cells were also detected in these compartments, with each employing distinct allorecognition pathways. An influx of pluripotent CD8+ effector cells with a memory phenotype were detected in the lung during OAD similar to those seen in the allografts and secondary lymphoid tissue. Antibody depletion of CD8+ T cells markedly reduced airway lumen obliteration and fibrosis at Day 28. Together, these data demonstrate that allospecific CD8+ effector T cells play an important role in OAD and traffic to the lung after heterotopic airway transplant, suggesting that the lung is an important immunologic site, and perhaps a reservoir, for effector cells during the rejection process.
PMCID: PMC2644186  PMID: 16195540
effector T cells; lung allograft rejection; lung transplantation; obliterative airways disease

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