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J Immunol. 2000 Jun 15;164(12):6487-94.

Neutrophil-induced changes in the biomechanical properties of endothelial cells: roles of ICAM-1 and reactive oxygen species.

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Physiology Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


This study evaluated the changes in the biomechanical properties of endothelial cells (ECs) induced by neutrophil adhesion and the roles of ICAM-1 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in modulating these changes. Neutrophil adherence to 24-h TNF-alpha-activated pulmonary microvascular ECs induced an increase in the apparent stiffness of ECs within 2 min, measured with magnetic twisting cytometry. An anti-ICAM-1 Ab blocked the EC stiffening response without inhibiting neutrophil adherence. Moreover, cross-linking ICAM-1 mimicked the stiffening response induced by neutrophils. The neutrophil-induced increase in the apparent stiffness of ECs was inhibited with 1% DMSO (a hydroxyl radical scavenger), allopurinol (a xanthine oxidase inhibitor), or deferoxamine (an iron chelator), suggesting that ROS may be involved in mediating the EC stiffening response. The cellular sources of ROS were determined by measuring the oxidation of dichlorofluorescein. Neutrophil adherence to TNF-alpha-activated ECs induced ROS production only in ECs, and not in neutrophils. This ROS production in ECs was completely prevented by the anti-ICAM-1 Ab and partially inhibited by allopurinol. These results suggest that ICAM-1-mediated signaling events during neutrophil adherence may activate xanthine oxidase, which in turn mediates the ROS production in ECs that leads to stiffening. ROS generated in ECs on neutrophil adherence appear to mediate cytoskeletal remodeling, which may modulate subsequent inflammatory responses.

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