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A Role for VEGFR2 Activation in Endothelial Responses Caused by Barrier Disruptive OxPAPC Concentrations
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Author: Anna A. Birukova et al.

by Anna A. Birukova, Sangderk Lee, Vitaliy Starosta, Tinghuai Wu, Tiffany Ho, Jin Kim, Judith A. Berliner, Konstantin G. Birukov


Oxidation products of 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (OxPAPC) differentially modulate endothelial cell (EC) barrier function in a dose-dependent fashion. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) is involved in the OxPAPC-induced EC inflammatory activation. This study examined a role of VEGFR2 in barrier dysfunction caused by high concentrations of OxPAPC and evaluated downstream signaling mechanisms resulting from the effect of OxPAPC in EC from pulmonary and systemic circulation.


EC monolayer permeability in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAEC) and human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) was monitored by changes in transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) across EC monolayers. Actin cytoskeleton was examined by immunostaining with Texas Red labeled phalloidin. Phosphorylation of myosin light chains (MLC) and VE-Cadherin was examined by Western blot and immunofluorescence techniques. The role of VEGFR2 in OxPAPC-induced permeability and cytoskeletal arrangement were determined using siRNA-induced VEGFR2 knockdown.


Low OxPAPC concentrations (5–20 µg/ml) induced a barrier protective response in both HPAEC and HAEC, while high OxPAPC concentrations (50–100 µg/ml) caused a rapid increase in permeability ; actin stress fiber formation and increased MLC phosphorylation were observed as early as 30 min after treatment. VEGFR2 knockdown dramatically decreased the amount of MLC phosphorylation and stress fiber formation caused by high OxPAPC concentrations with modest effects on the amount of VE-cadherin phosphorylation at Y731. We present evidence that activation of Rho is involved in the OxPAPC/VEGFR2 mechanism of EC permeability induced by high OxPAPC concentrations. Knockdown of VEGFR2 did not rescue the early drop in TER but prevented further development of OxPAPC-induced barrier dysfunction.


This study shows that VEGFR2 is involved in the delayed phase of EC barrier dysfunction caused by high OxPAPC concentrations and contributes to stress fiber formation and increased MLC phosphorylation.