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Blood. 2009 Jan 1;113(1):224-32. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-06-165746. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Central role of Sp1-regulated CD39 in hypoxia/ischemia protection.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA.


Hypoxia is common to several inflammatory diseases, where multiple cell types release adenine-nucleotides (particularly adenosine triphosphate/adenosine diphosphate). Adenosine triphosphate/adenosine diphosphate is metabolized to adenosine through a 2-step enzymatic reaction initiated by CD39 (ectonucleoside-triphosphate-diphosphohydrolase-1). Thus, extracellular adenosine becomes available to regulate multiple inflammatory endpoints. Here, we hypothesized that hypoxia transcriptionally up-regulates CD39 expression. Initial studies revealed hypoxia-dependent increases in CD39 mRNA and immunoreactivity on endothelia. Examination of the human CD39 gene promoter identified a region important in hypoxia inducibility. Multiple levels of analysis, including site-directed mutagenesis, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and inhibition by antisense, revealed a critical role for transcription-factor Sp1 in hypoxia-induction of CD39. Using a combination of cd39(-/-) mice and Sp1 small interfering RNA in in vivo cardiac ischemia models revealed Sp1-mediated induction of cardiac CD39 during myocardial ischemia. In summary, these results identify a novel Sp1-dependent regulatory pathway for CD39 and indicate the likelihood that CD39 is central to protective responses to hypoxia/ischemia.

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