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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2003 Jun;284(6):L899-914.

Mechanisms of bacterial lipopolysaccharide-induced endothelial apoptosis.

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Immunology and Disease Resistance Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Maryland 20705, USA.


Gram-negative bacterial sepsis remains a common, life-threatening event. The prognosis for patients who develop sepsis-related complications, including the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), remains poor. A common finding among patients and experimental animals with sepsis and ARDS is endothelial injury and/or dysfunction. A component of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or endotoxin, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of much of the endothelial cell injury and/or dysfunction associated with these disease states. LPS is a highly proinflammatory molecule that elicits a wide array of endothelial responses, including the upregulation of cytokines, adhesion molecules, and tissue factor. In addition to activation, LPS induces endothelial cell death that is apoptotic in nature. This review summarizes the evidence for LPS-induced vascular endothelial injury and examines the molecular signaling pathways that activate and inhibit LPS-induced endothelial apoptosis. Furthermore, the role of apoptotic signaling molecules in mediating LPS-induced activation of endothelial cells will be considered.

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