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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2008 May;294(5):L955-63. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00449.2007. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Regulation of angiopoietin expression by bacterial lipopolysaccharide.

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  • 1Critical Care Division, Royal Victoria Hospital, 687 Pine Ave West, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3A 1A1.


Angiopoietins are ligands for Tie-2 receptors and play important roles in angiogenesis and inflammation. While angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) inhibits inflammatory responses, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) promotes cytokine production and vascular leakage. In this study, we evaluated in vivo and in vitro effects of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on angiopoietin expression. Wild-type C57/BL6 mice were injected with saline (control) or E. coli LPS (20 mg/ml ip) and killed 6, 12, and 24 h later. The diaphragm, lung, and liver were excised and assayed for mRNA and protein expression of Ang-1, Ang-2, and Tie-2 protein and tyrosine phosphorylation. LPS injection elicited a severalfold rise in Ang-2 mRNA and protein levels in the three organs. By comparison, both Ang-1 and Tie-2 levels in the diaphragm, liver, and lung were significantly attenuated by LPS administration. In addition, Tie-2 tyrosine phosphorylation in the lung was significantly reduced in response to LPS injection. In vitro exposure to E. coli LPS elicited cell-specific changes in Ang-1 expression, with significant induction in Ang-1 expression being observed in cultured human epithelial cells, whereas significant attenuation of Ang-1 expression was observed in response to E. coli LPS exposure in primary human skeletal myoblasts. In both cell types, E. coli LPS elicited substantial induction of Ang-2 mRNA, a response that was mediated in part through NF-kappaB. We conclude that in vivo endotoxemia triggers functional inhibition of the Ang-1/Tie-2 receptor pathway by reducing Ang-1 and Tie-2 expression and inducing Ang-2 levels and that this response may contribute to enhanced vascular leakage in sepsis.

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