Abstract 474: Effects of Cigarette Smoke on CD146 Expression and Function in Pulmonary Endothelial Cells
Background and Objectives: Cell adhesion molecule CD146 is a transmembrane glycoprotein constitutively expressed in all types of endothelial cells (EC). It exists in two forms: a membrane-anchored form (CD146) and a soluble, extracellular and cleaved form (sCD146). The plasma concentration of sCD146 is modulated in inflammatory diseases that involve endothelial alterations. We investigated the role of endothelial CD146 in cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in vivo and in pulmonary endothelial cells (EC) in vitro.
Methods: Sprague Dawley rats exposed to cigarette smoke for 2 months developed significant emphysematous changes (measured by mean linear intercept). Levels of sCD146 were subsequently measured in the circulation as well as in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALf) via ELISA. In vitro studies were carried out in rat pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells using CSE.
Results: CD146 is highly expressed in rat pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (RPMVEC) and to a much lower extent, in pulmonary macrovascular endothelial cells (RPAEC). Treatment of RPMVEC with cigarette smoke extract (CSE) in vitro resulted in decreased expression of membrane-bound CD146 as well as a reduced gene expression and increased sCD146 levels in the culture medium after 12 hours. Moreover, CSE-induced downregulation of CD146 expression resulted in increased vascular permeability of RPMVEC, as measured by EVANs Blue assay and migration of CFSE-labeled rat alveolar macrophage. Immunofluorescent staining revealed that CSE treatment resulted in translocation of membrane-bound CD146 into the nucleus. Subsequent western blot analysis showed changes in ERK and AKT activation and signaling. Similar results were found upon siRNA silencing of CD146, implicating a role for CD146 in tissue inflammation and integrity. Circulating levels of sCD146 were also elevated in plasma and BALf of patients with COPD and correlated, in part, with the presence of anti-endothelial autoantibodies. Additionally, we found decreased expression of membrane-bound CD146 in lung tissues of COPD patients.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that CD146 plays an important role in pulmonary vascular EC function. Moreover, levels of circulating soluble CD146 can be a predictor of vascular endothelial cell injury.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.