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Rationale: Antibiotic treatment of patients infected with G− or G+ bacteria promotes release of the toxins lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and pneumolysin (PLY) in their lungs. Growth Hormone-releasing Hormone (GHRH) agonist JI-34 protects human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HL-MVEC), expressing splice variant 1 (SV-1) of the receptor, from PLY-induced barrier dysfunction. We investigated whether JI-34 also blunts LPS-induced hyperpermeability. Since GHRH receptor (GHRH-R) signaling can potentially stimulate both cAMP-dependent barrier-protective pathways as well as barrier-disruptive protein kinase C pathways, we studied their interaction in GHRH agonist-treated HL-MVEC, in the presence of PLY, by means of siRNA-mediated protein kinase A (PKA) depletion.
Methods: Barrier function measurements were done in HL-MVEC monolayers using Electrical Cell substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) and VE-cadherin expression by Western blotting. Capillary leak was assessed by Evans Blue dye (EBD) incorporation. Cytokine generation in broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was measured by multiplex analysis. PKA and PKC-α activity were assessed by Western blotting.
Results: GHRH agonist JI-34 significantly blunts LPS-induced barrier dysfunction, at least in part by preserving VE-cadherin expression, while not affecting inflammation. In addition to activating PKA, GHRH agonist also increases PKC-α activity in PLY-treated HL-MVEC. Treatment with PLY significantly decreases resistance in control siRNA-treated HL-MVEC, but does so even more in PKA-depleted monolayers. Pretreatment with GHRH agonist blunts PLY-induced permeability in control siRNA-treated HL-MVEC, but fails to improve barrier function in PKA-depleted PLY-treated monolayers.
Conclusions: GHRH signaling in HL-MVEC protects from both LPS and PLY-mediated endothelial barrier dysfunction and concurrently induces a barrier-protective PKA-mediated and a barrier-disruptive PKC-α-induced pathway in the presence of PLY, the former of which dominates the latter.
Czikora I, Sridhar S, Gorshkov B, Alieva IB, Kasa A, Gonzales J, Potapenko O, Umapathy NS, Pillich H, Rick FG, Block NL, Verin AD, Chakraborty T, Matthay MA, Schally AV and Lucas R (2014) Protective effect of Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone agonist in bacterial toxin-induced pulmonary barrier dysfunction. Front. Physiol. 5:259. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00259