by Melanie van der Heijden, Geerten P. van Nieuw Amerongen, Jan van Bezu, Marinus A. Paul, A. B. Johan Groeneveld, Victor W. M. van Hinsbergh
Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is associated with lung injury in ALI/ARDS. As endothelial activation by thrombin plays a role in the permeability of acute lung injury and Ang-2 may modulate the kinetics of thrombin-induced permeability by impairing the organization of vascular endothelial (VE-)cadherin, and affecting small Rho GTPases in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMVECs), we hypothesized that Ang-2 acts as a sensitizer of thrombin-induced hyperpermeability of HPMVECs, opposed by Ang-1. Methodology/Principal Findings
Permeability was assessed by measuring macromolecule passage and transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER). Angiopoietins did not affect basal permeability. Nevertheless, they had opposing effects on the thrombin-induced permeability, in particular in the initial phase. Ang-2 enhanced the initial permeability increase (passage, P?=?0.010; TEER, P?=?0.021) in parallel with impairment of VE-cadherin organization without affecting VE-cadherin Tyr685 phosphorylation or increasing RhoA activity. Ang-2 also increased intercellular gap formation. Ang-1 preincubation increased Rac1 activity, enforced the VE-cadherin organization, reduced the initial thrombin-induced permeability (TEER, P?=?0.027), while Rac1 activity simultaneously normalized, and reduced RhoA activity at 15 min thrombin exposure (P?=?0.039), but not at earlier time points. The simultaneous presence of Ang-2 largely prevented the effect of Ang-1 on TEER and macromolecule passage. Conclusions/Significance
Ang-1 attenuated thrombin-induced permeability, which involved initial Rac1 activation-enforced cell-cell junctions, and later RhoA inhibition. In addition to antagonizing Ang-1, Ang-2 had also a direct effect itself. Ang-2 sensitized the initial thrombin-induced permeability accompanied by destabilization of VE-cadherin junctions and increased gap formation, in the absence of increased RhoA activity.