Although acute lung injury contributes significantly to critical illness, resolution often occurs spontaneously via activation of incompletely understood pathways. We recently found that mechanical ventilation of mice increases the level of pulmonary adenosine, and that mice deficient for extracellular adenosine generation show increased pulmonary edema and inflammation after ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). Here, we profiled the response to VILI in mice with genetic deletions of each of the 4 adenosine receptors (ARs) and found that deletion of the A2BAR gene was specifically associated with reduced survival time and increased pulmonary albumin leakage after injury. In WT mice, treatment with an A2BAR-selective antagonist resulted in enhanced pulmonary inflammation, edema, and attenuated gas exchange, while an A2BAR agonist attenuated VILI. In bone marrow–chimeric A2BAR mice, although the pulmonary inflammatory response involved A2BAR signaling from bone marrow–derived cells, A2BARs located on the lung tissue attenuated VILI-induced albumin leakage and pulmonary edema. Furthermore, measurement of alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) demonstrated that A2BAR signaling enhanced amiloride-sensitive fluid transport and elevation of pulmonary cAMP levels following VILI, suggesting that A2BAR agonist treatment protects by drying out the lungs. Similar enhancement of pulmonary cAMP and AFC were also observed after β-adrenergic stimulation, a pathway known to promote AFC. Taken together, these studies reveal a role for A2BAR signaling in attenuating VILI and implicate this receptor as a potential therapeutic target during acute lung injury.
Tobias Eckle, Almut Grenz, Stefanie Laucher, Holger K. Eltzschig
Sensory neurons in the airways are finely tuned to respond to reactive chemicals threatening airway function and integrity. Nasal trigeminal nerve endings are particularly sensitive to oxidants formed in polluted air and during oxidative stress as well as to chlorine, which is frequently released in industrial and domestic accidents. Oxidant activation of airway neurons induces respiratory depression, nasal obstruction, sneezing, cough, and pain. While normally protective, chemosensory airway reflexes can provoke severe complications in patients affected by inflammatory airway conditions like rhinitis and asthma. Here, we showed that both hypochlorite, the oxidizing mediator of chlorine, and hydrogen peroxide, a reactive oxygen species, activated Ca2+ influx and membrane currents in an oxidant-sensitive subpopulation of chemosensory neurons. These responses were absent in neurons from mice lacking TRPA1, an ion channel of the transient receptor potential (TRP) gene family. TRPA1 channels were strongly activated by hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide in primary sensory neurons and heterologous cells. In tests of respiratory function, Trpa1–/– mice displayed profound deficiencies in hypochlorite- and hydrogen peroxide–induced respiratory depression as well as decreased oxidant-induced pain behavior. Our results indicate that TRPA1 is an oxidant sensor in sensory neurons, initiating neuronal excitation and subsequent physiological responses in vitro and in vivo.
Bret F. Bessac, Michael Sivula, Christian A. von Hehn, Jasmine Escalera, Lauren Cohn, Sven-Eric Jordt
Hypercapnia (elevated CO2 levels) occurs as a consequence of poor alveolar ventilation and impairs alveolar fluid reabsorption (AFR) by promoting Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. We studied the mechanisms regulating CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis in alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) and alveolar epithelial dysfunction in rats. Elevated CO2 levels caused a rapid activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in AECs, a key regulator of metabolic homeostasis. Activation of AMPK was mediated by a CO2-triggered increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase-β (CaMKK-β). Chelating intracellular Ca2+ or abrogating CaMKK-β function by gene silencing or chemical inhibition prevented the CO2-induced AMPK activation in AECs. Activation of AMPK or overexpression of constitutively active AMPK was sufficient to activate PKC-ζ and promote Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. Inhibition or downregulation of AMPK via adenoviral delivery of dominant-negative AMPK-α1 prevented CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis. The hypercapnia effects were independent of intracellular ROS. Exposure of rats to hypercapnia for up to 7 days caused a sustained decrease in AFR. Pretreatment with a β-adrenergic agonist, isoproterenol, or a cAMP analog ameliorated the hypercapnia-induced impairment of AFR. Accordingly, we provide evidence that elevated CO2 levels are sensed by AECs and that AMPK mediates CO2-induced Na,K-ATPase endocytosis and alveolar epithelial dysfunction, which can be prevented with β-adrenergic agonists and cAMP.
István Vadász, Laura A. Dada, Arturo Briva, Humberto E. Trejo, Lynn C. Welch, Jiwang Chen, Péter T. Tóth, Emilia Lecuona, Lee A. Witters, Paul T. Schumacker, Navdeep S. Chandel, Werner Seeger, Jacob I. Sznajder
In addition to its well-known expression in the germline and in cells of certain cancers, telomerase activity is induced in lung fibrosis, although its role in this process is unknown. To identify the pathogenetic importance of telomerase in lung fibrosis, we examined the effects of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) deficiency in a murine model of pulmonary injury. TERT-deficient mice showed significantly reduced lung fibrosis following bleomycin (BLM) insult. This was accompanied by a significant reduction in expression of lung α-SMA, a marker of myofibroblast differentiation. Furthermore, lung fibroblasts isolated from BLM-treated TERT-deficient mice showed significantly decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis rates compared with cells isolated from control mice. Transplantation of WT BM into TERT-deficient mice restored BLM-induced lung telomerase activity and fibrosis to WT levels. Conversely, transplantation of BM from TERT-deficient mice into WT recipients resulted in reduced telomerase activity and fibrosis. These findings suggest that induction of telomerase in injured lungs may be caused by BM-derived cells, which appear to play an important role in pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, TERT induction is associated with increased survival of lung fibroblasts, which favors the development of fibrosis instead of injury resolution.
Tianju Liu, Myoung Ja Chung, Matthew Ullenbruch, Hongfeng Yu, Hong Jin, Biao Hu, Yoon Young Choi, Fuyuki Ishikawa, Sem H. Phan
The molecular mechanisms of acute lung injury resulting in inflammation and fibrosis are not well established. Here we investigate the roles of the IL-1 receptor 1 (IL-1R1) and the common adaptor for Toll/IL-1R signal transduction, MyD88, in this process using a murine model of acute pulmonary injury. Bleomycin insult results in expression of neutrophil and lymphocyte chemotactic factors, chronic inflammation, remodeling, and fibrosis. We demonstrate that these end points were attenuated in the lungs of IL-1R1– and MyD88-deficient mice. Further, in bone marrow chimera experiments, bleomycin-induced inflammation required primarily MyD88 signaling from radioresistant resident cells. Exogenous rIL-1β recapitulated a high degree of bleomycin-induced lung pathology, and specific blockade of IL-1R1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist dramatically reduced bleomycin-induced inflammation. Finally, we found that lung IL-1β production and inflammation in response to bleomycin required ASC, an inflammasome adaptor molecule. In conclusion, bleomycin-induced lung pathology required the inflammasome and IL-1R1/MyD88 signaling, and IL-1 represented a critical effector of pathology and therapeutic target of chronic lung inflammation and fibrosis.
Pamela Gasse, Caroline Mary, Isabelle Guenon, Nicolas Noulin, Sabine Charron, Silvia Schnyder-Candrian, Bruno Schnyder, Shizuo Akira, Valérie F.J. Quesniaux, Vincent Lagente, Bernhard Ryffel, Isabelle Couillin
Squamous metaplasia (SM) is common in smokers and is associated with airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A major mechanism of airway obstruction in COPD is thickening of the small airway walls. We asked whether SM actively contributes to airway wall thickening through alteration of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in COPD. Using immunohistochemical staining, airway morphometry, and fibroblast culture of lung samples from COPD patients; genome-wide analysis of an in vitro model of SM; and in vitro modeling of human airway epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, we provide evidence that SM, through the increased secretion of IL-1β, induces a fibrotic response in adjacent airway fibroblasts. We identify a pivotal role for integrin-mediated TGF-β activation in amplifying SM and driving IL-1β–dependent profibrotic mesenchymal responses. Finally, we show that SM correlates with increased severity of COPD and that fibroblast expression of the integrin αvβ8, which is the major mediator of airway fibroblast TGF-β activation, correlated with disease severity and small airway wall thickening in COPD. Our findings have identified TGF-β as a potential therapeutic target for COPD.
Jun Araya, Stephanie Cambier, Jennifer A. Markovics, Paul Wolters, David Jablons, Arthur Hill, Walter Finkbeiner, Kirk Jones, V. Courtney Broaddus, Dean Sheppard, Andrea Barzcak, Yuanyuan Xiao, David J. Erle, Stephen L. Nishimura
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by dysfunction of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), an anion channel whose dysfunction leads to chronic bacterial and fungal airway infections via a pathophysiological cascade that is incompletely understood. Airway glands, which produce most airway mucus, do so in response to both acetylcholine (ACh) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). CF glands fail to secrete mucus in response to VIP, but do so in response to ACh. Because vagal cholinergic pathways still elicit strong gland mucus secretion in CF subjects, it is unclear whether VIP-stimulated, CFTR-dependent gland secretion participates in innate defense. It was recently hypothesized that airway intrinsic neurons, which express abundant VIP and ACh, are normally active and stimulate low-level gland mucus secretion that is a component of innate mucosal defenses. Here we show that low levels of VIP and ACh produced significant mucus secretion in human glands via strong synergistic interactions; synergy was lost in glands of CF patients. VIP/ACh synergy also existed in pig glands, where it was CFTR dependent, mediated by both Cl– and HCO3–, and clotrimazole sensitive. Loss of “housekeeping” gland mucus secretion in CF, in combination with demonstrated defects in surface epithelia, may play a role in the vulnerability of CF airways to bacterial infections.
Jae Young Choi, Nam Soo Joo, Mauri E. Krouse, Jin V. Wu, Robert C. Robbins, Juan P. Ianowski, John W. Hanrahan, Jeffrey J. Wine
Receptor-mediated airway smooth muscle (ASM) contraction via Gαq, and relaxation via Gαs, underlie the bronchospastic features of asthma and its treatment. Asthma models show increased ASM Gαi expression, considered the basis for the proasthmatic phenotypes of enhanced bronchial hyperreactivity to contraction mediated by M3-muscarinic receptors and diminished relaxation mediated by β2-adrenergic receptors (β2ARs). A causal effect between Gi expression and phenotype has not been established, nor have mechanisms whereby Gi modulates Gq/Gs signaling. To delineate isolated effects of altered Gi, transgenic mice were generated overexpressing Gαi2 or a Gαi2 peptide inhibitor in ASM. Unexpectedly, Gαi2 overexpression decreased contractility to methacholine, while Gαi2 inhibition enhanced contraction. These opposite phenotypes resulted from different crosstalk loci within the Gq signaling network: decreased phospholipase C and increased PKCα, respectively. Gαi2 overexpression decreased β2AR-mediated airway relaxation, while Gαi2 inhibition increased this response, consistent with physiologically relevant coupling of this receptor to both Gs and Gi. IL-13 transgenic mice (a model of asthma), which developed increased ASM Gαi, displayed marked increases in airway hyperresponsiveness when Gαi function was inhibited. Increased Gαi in asthma is therefore a double-edged sword: a compensatory event mitigating against bronchial hyperreactivity, but a mechanism that evokes β-agonist resistance. By selective intervention within these multipronged signaling modules, advantageous Gs/Gq activities could provide new asthma therapies.
Dennis W. McGraw, Jean M. Elwing, Kevin M. Fogel, Wayne C.H. Wang, Clare B. Glinka, Kathryn A. Mihlbachler, Marc E. Rothenberg, Stephen B. Liggett
Goblet cell hyperplasia and mucous hypersecretion contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic pulmonary diseases including cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the present work, mouse SAM pointed domain-containing ETS transcription factor (SPDEF) mRNA and protein were detected in subsets of epithelial cells lining the trachea, bronchi, and tracheal glands. SPDEF interacted with the C-terminal domain of thyroid transcription factor 1, activating transcription of genes expressed selectively in airway epithelial cells, including Sftpa, Scgb1a1, Foxj1, and Sox17. Expression of Spdef in the respiratory epithelium of adult transgenic mice caused goblet cell hyperplasia, inducing both acidic and neutral mucins in vivo, and stainined for both acidic and neutral mucins in vivo. SPDEF expression was increased at sites of goblet cell hyperplasia caused by IL-13 and dust mite allergen in a process that was dependent upon STAT-6. SPDEF was induced following intratracheal allergen exposure and after Th2 cytokine stimulation and was sufficient to cause goblet cell differentiation of Clara cells in vivo.
Kwon-Sik Park, Thomas R. Korfhagen, Michael D. Bruno, Joseph A. Kitzmiller, Huajing Wan, Susan E. Wert, Gurjit K. Khurana Hershey, Gang Chen, Jeffrey A. Whitsett
The origin and turnover of connective tissue cells in adult human organs, including the lung, are not well understood. Here, studies of cells derived from human lung allografts demonstrate the presence of a multipotent mesenchymal cell population, which is locally resident in the human adult lung and has extended life span in vivo. Examination of plastic-adherent cell populations in bronchoalveolar lavage samples obtained from 76 human lung transplant recipients revealed clonal proliferation of fibroblast-like cells in 62% (106 of 172) of samples. Immunophenotyping of these isolated cells demonstrated expression of vimentin and prolyl-4-hydroxylase, indicating a mesenchymal phenotype. Multiparametric flow cytometric analyses revealed expression of cell-surface proteins, CD73, CD90, and CD105, commonly found on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Hematopoietic lineage markers CD14, CD34, and CD45 were absent. Multipotency of these cells was demonstrated by their capacity to differentiate into adipocytes, chondrocytes, and osteocytes. Cytogenetic analysis of cells from 7 sex-mismatched lung transplant recipients harvested up to 11 years after transplant revealed that 97.2% ± 2.1% expressed the sex genotype of the donor. The presence of MSCs of donor sex identity in lung allografts even years after transplantation provides what we believe to be the first evidence for connective tissue cell progenitors that reside locally within a postnatal, nonhematopoietic organ.
Vibha N. Lama, Lisa Smith, Linda Badri, Andrew Flint, Adin-Cristian Andrei, Susan Murray, Zhuo Wang, Hui Liao, Galen B. Toews, Paul H. Krebsbach, Marc Peters-Golden, David J. Pinsky, Fernando J. Martinez, Victor J. Thannickal
Aminoglycosides can readthrough premature termination codons (PTCs), permitting translation of full-length proteins. Previously we have found variable efficiency of readthrough in response to the aminoglycoside gentamicin among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, all carrying the W1282X nonsense mutation. Here we demonstrate that there are patients in whom the level of CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) nonsense transcripts is markedly reduced, while in others it is significantly higher. Response to gentamicin was found only in patients with the higher level. We further investigated the possibility that the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) might vary among cells and hence governs the level of nonsense transcripts available for readthrough. Our results demonstrate differences in NMD efficiency of CFTR transcripts carrying the W1282X mutation among different epithelial cell lines derived from the same tissue. Variability was also found for 5 physiologic NMD substrates, RPL3, SC35 1.6 kb, SC35 1.7 kb, ASNS, and CARS. Importantly, our results demonstrate the existence of cells in which NMD of all transcripts was efficient and others in which the NMD was less efficient. Downregulation of NMD in cells carrying the W1282X mutation increased the level of CFTR nonsense transcripts and enhanced the CFTR chloride channel activity in response to gentamicin. Together our results suggest that the efficiency of NMD might vary and hence have an important role in governing the response to treatments aiming to promote readthrough of PTCs in many genetic diseases.
Liat Linde, Stephanie Boelz, Malka Nissim-Rafinia, Yifat S. Oren, Michael Wilschanski, Yasmin Yaacov, Dov Virgilis, Gabriele Neu-Yilik, Andreas E. Kulozik, Eitan Kerem, Batsheva Kerem
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) express the class A scavenger receptors (SRAs) macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO) and scavenger receptor AI/II (SRA-I/II), which recognize oxidized lipids and provide innate defense against inhaled pathogens and particles. Increased MARCO expression in lungs of ozone-resistant mice suggested an additional role protecting against inhaled oxidants. After ozone exposure, MARCO–/– mice showed greater lung injury than did MARCO+/+ mice. Ozone is known to generate oxidized, proinflammatory lipids in lung lining fluid, such as 5β,6β-epoxycholesterol (β-epoxide) and 1-palmitoyl-2-(9′-oxo-nonanoyl)-glycerophosphocholine (PON-GPC). Intratracheal instillation of either lipid caused substantial neutrophil influx in MARCO–/– mice, but had no effect in MARCO+/+ mice. Normal AMs showed greater uptake in vitro of β-epoxide compared with MARCO–/– AMs, consistent with SRA function in binding oxidized lipids. SR-AI/II–/– mice showed similar enhanced acute lung inflammation after β-epoxide or another inhaled oxidant (aerosolized leachate of residual oil fly ash). In contrast, subacute ozone exposure did not enhance inflammation in SR-AI/II–/– versus SR-AI/II+/+ mice, reflecting increased AM expression of MARCO. These data identify what we believe to be a novel function for AM SRAs in decreasing pulmonary inflammation after oxidant inhalation by scavenging proinflammatory oxidized lipids from lung lining fluids.
Morten Dahl, Alison K. Bauer, Mohamed Arredouani, Raija Soininen, Karl Tryggvason, Steven R. Kleeberger, Lester Kobzik
The role of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) as a cAMP-dependent chloride channel on the apical membrane of epithelia is well established. However, the processes by which CFTR is regulated on the cell surface are not clear. Here we report the identification of a protein-protein interaction between CFTR and the cytoskeletal filamin proteins. Using proteomic approaches, we identified filamins as proteins that associate with the extreme CFTR N terminus. Furthermore, we identified a disease-causing missense mutation in CFTR, serine 13 to phenylalanine (S13F), which disrupted this interaction. In cells, filamins tethered plasma membrane CFTR to the underlying actin network. This interaction stabilized CFTR at the cell surface and regulated the plasma membrane dynamics and confinement of the channel. In the absence of filamin binding, CFTR was internalized from the cell surface, where it prematurely accumulated in lysosomes and was ultimately degraded. Our data demonstrate what we believe to be a previously unrecognized role for the CFTR N terminus in the regulation of the plasma membrane stability and metabolic stability of CFTR. In addition, we elucidate the molecular defect associated with the S13F mutation.
William R. Thelin, Yun Chen, Martina Gentzsch, Silvia M. Kreda, Jennifer L. Sallee, Cameron O. Scarlett, Christoph H. Borchers, Ken Jacobson, M. Jackson Stutts, Sharon L. Milgram
Bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) was originally described as a mucosal lymphoid organ in the lungs of some species. However, while the lungs of naive mice and humans typically lack BALT, pulmonary infection in mice leads to the development of inducible BALT (iBALT), which is located in peribronchial, perivascular, and interstitial areas throughout the lung. Here we investigated whether iBALT forms in patients with a variety of interstitial lung diseases. We show that while iBALT can be found in the lungs of patients suffering from multiple diseases, well-developed iBALT is most prevalent in patients with pulmonary complications of RA and Sjögren syndrome. In these patients, iBALT consisted of numerous B cell follicles containing germinal centers and follicular dendritic cells. A loosely defined T cell area surrounded the B cell follicles while lymphatics and high endothelial venules were found at the B cell/T cell interface. Increased expression of lymphoid-organizing chemokines, such as CXCL13 and CCL21, as well as molecules involved in the immunopathology of RA, such as B cell–activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF), ICOS ligand, and lymphotoxin, correlated with more well-developed iBALT. Finally, the presence of iBALT correlated with tissue damage in the lungs of RA patients, suggesting that iBALT participates in local RA pathogenesis.
Javier Rangel-Moreno, Louise Hartson, Carmen Navarro, Miguel Gaxiola, Moises Selman, Troy D. Randall
Acute lung injury (ALI) causes high mortality, but its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Acid aspiration is a frequent cause of ALI, leading to neutrophil sequestration, increased permeability, and deterioration of gas exchange. We investigated the role of platelet-neutrophil interactions in a murine model of acid-induced ALI. Acid aspiration induced P-selectin–dependent platelet-neutrophil interactions in blood and in lung capillaries. Reducing circulating platelets or blocking P-selectin halted the development of ALI. Bone marrow chimeras showed that platelet, not endothelial, P-selectin was responsible for the injury. The interaction of platelets with neutrophils and endothelia was associated with TXA2 formation, with detrimental effects on permeability and tissue function. Activated platelets induced endothelial expression of ICAM-1 and increased neutrophil adhesion. Inhibition of platelet-neutrophil aggregation improved gas exchange, reduced neutrophil recruitment and permeability, and prolonged survival. The key findings were confirmed in a sepsis-induced model of ALI. These findings may translate into improved clinical treatments for ALI.
Alexander Zarbock, Kai Singbartl, Klaus Ley
TLRs have been studied extensively in the context of pathogen challenges, yet their role in the unchallenged lung is unknown. Given their direct interface with the external environment, TLRs in the lungs are prime candidates to respond to air constituents, namely particulates and oxygen. The mechanism whereby the lung maintains structural integrity in the face of constant ambient exposures is essential to our understanding of lung disease. Emphysema is characterized by gradual loss of lung elasticity and irreversible airspace enlargement, usually in the later decades of life and after years of insult, most commonly cigarette smoke. Here we show Tlr4–/– mice exhibited emphysema as they aged. Adoptive transfer experiments revealed that TLR4 expression in lung structural cells was required for maintaining normal lung architecture. TLR4 deficiency led to the upregulation of what we believe to be a novel NADPH oxidase (Nox), Nox3, in lungs and endothelial cells, resulting in increased oxidant generation and elastolytic activity. Treatment of Tlr4–/– mice or endothelial cells with chemical NADPH inhibitors or Nox3 siRNA reversed the observed phenotype. Our data identify a role for TLR4 in maintaining constitutive lung integrity by modulating oxidant generation and provide insights into the development of emphysema.
Xuchen Zhang, Peiying Shan, Ge Jiang, Lauren Cohn, Patty J. Lee
Airway DCs play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma, and interfering with their function could constitute a novel form of therapy. The sphingosine 1–phosphate receptor agonist FTY720 is an oral immunosuppressant that retains lymphocytes in lymph nodes and spleen, thus preventing lymphocyte migration to inflammatory sites. The accompanying lymphopenia could be a serious side effect that would preclude the use of FTY720 as an antiasthmatic drug. Here we show in a murine asthma model that local application of FTY720 via inhalation prior to or during ongoing allergen challenge suppresses Th2-dependent eosinophilic airway inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness without causing lymphopenia and T cell retention in the lymph nodes. Effectiveness of local treatment was achieved by inhibition of the migration of lung DCs to the mediastinal lymph nodes, which in turn inhibited the formation of allergen-specific Th2 cells in lymph nodes. Also, FTY720-treated DCs were intrinsically less potent in activating naive and effector Th2 cells due to a reduced capacity to form stable interactions with T cells and thus to form an immunological synapse. These data support the concept that targeting the function of airway DCs with locally acting drugs is a powerful new strategy in the treatment of asthma.
Marco Idzko, Hamida Hammad, Menno van Nimwegen, Mirjam Kool, Tobias Müller, Thomas Soullié, Monique A.M. Willart, Daniëlle Hijdra, Henk C. Hoogsteden, Bart N. Lambrecht
Pulmonary surfactant proteins and lipids are required for lung function after birth. Lung immaturity and resultant surfactant deficiency cause respiratory distress syndrome, a common disorder contributing to morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. Surfactant synthesis increases prior to birth in association with formation of the alveoli that mediate efficient gas exchange. To identify mechanisms controlling perinatal lung maturation, the Calcineurin b1 (Cnb1) gene was deleted in the respiratory epithelium of the fetal mouse. Deletion of Cnb1 caused respiratory failure after birth and inhibited the structural maturation of the peripheral lung. Synthesis of surfactant and a lamellar body–associated protein, ABC transporter A3 (ABCA3), was decreased prior to birth. Nuclear factor of activated T cells (Nfat) calcineurin-dependent 3 (Nfatc3), a transcription factor modulated by calcineurin, was identified as a direct activator of Sftpa, Sftpb, Sftpc, Abca3, Foxa1, and Foxa2 genes. The calcineurin/Nfat pathway controls the morphologic maturation of lungs prior to birth and regulates expression of genes involved in surfactant homeostasis that are critical for adaptation to air breathing.
Vrushank Davé, Tawanna Childs, Yan Xu, Machiko Ikegami, Valérie Besnard, Yutaka Maeda, Susan E. Wert, Joel R. Neilson, Gerald R. Crabtree, Jeffrey A. Whitsett
Kaushik Parthasarathi, Hideo Ichimura, Eiji Monma, Jens Lindert, Sadiqa Quadri, Andrew Issekutz, Jahar Bhattacharya
Acute lung injury (ALI), which is associated with a mortality of 30–40%, is attributable to inflammation that develops rapidly across the lung’s vast vascular surface, involving an entire lung or even both lungs. No specific mechanism explains this extensive inflammatory spread, probably because of the lack of approaches for detecting signal conduction in lung capillaries. Here, we addressed this question by applying the photolytic uncaging approach to induce focal increases in Ca2+ levels in targeted endothelial cells of alveolar capillaries. Uncaging caused Ca2+ levels to increase not only in the targeted cell, but also in vascular locations up to 150 μm from the target site, indicating that Ca2+ was conducted from the capillary to adjacent vessels. No such conduction was evident in mouse lungs lacking endothelial connexin 43 (Cx43), or in rat lungs in which we pretreated vessels with peptide inhibitors of Cx43. These findings provide the first direct evidence to our knowledge that interendothelial Ca2+ conduction occurs in the lung capillary bed and that Cx43-containing gap junctions mediate the conduction. A proinflammatory effect was evident in that induction of increases in Ca2+ levels in the capillary activated expression of the leukocyte adherence receptor P-selectin in venules. Further, peptide inhibitors of Cx43 completely blocked thrombin-induced microvascular permeability increases. Together, our findings reveal a novel role for Cx43-mediated gap junctions, namely as conduits for the spread of proinflammatory signals in the lung capillary bed. Gap junctional mechanisms require further consideration in the understanding of ALI.
Kaushik Parthasarathi, Hideo Ichimura, Eiji Monma, Jens Lindert, Sadiqa Quadri, Andrew Issekutz, Jahar Bhattacharya