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FASEB J. 2005 Nov;19(13):1914-6. Epub 2005 Sep 19.

Preconditioning of primary human endothelial cells with inflammatory mediators alters the "set point" of the cell.

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The Center for Vascular Biology Research and Division of Molecular and Vascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston MA 02215, USA.


Endothelial cells are highly sensitive to changes in the extracellular milieu. Sepsis results in activation of inflammatory and coagulation pathways. We hypothesized that sepsis-associated mediators may alter the response capacity (so-called "set point") of endothelial cells. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were preincubated in the presence or absence of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), hypoxia, hyperthermia, and/or high glucose; treated with or without thrombin for 4 h; and then processed for RNase protection assays of selected activation markers. Priming with TNF-alpha and LPS significantly inhibited thrombin-mediated induction of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, tissue factor, and E-selectin, but not platelet-derived growth factor-A or CD44. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays, thrombin-treated HUVEC demonstrated inducible binding of p65 NF-kappaB, an effect that was significantly blunted by pretreatment of cells with TNF-alpha and LPS. Consistent with these results, TNF-alpha and LPS attenuated the effect of thrombin on IkappaB phosphorylation, total cytoplasmic IkappaB, and nuclear translocation of p65 NF-kappaB. The inhibitory effect of TNF-alpha on thrombin signaling persisted for up to 24 h following removal of the cytokine. Taken together, these data suggest that inflammatory mediators prime endothelial cells to modulate subsequent thrombin response.

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