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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;45(5):1851-1862. doi: 10.1159/000487876. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

ADAM17-Mediated Ectodomain Shedding of Toll-Like Receptor 4 as a Negative Feedback Regulation in Lipopolysaccharide-Activated Aortic Endothelial Cells.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.



Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated monocytes/macrophages develop endotoxin tolerance in part by reducing cell surface toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) through cluster of differentiation 14 (CD14)-dependent endocytosis. In case of endothelial cells, CD14 is expressed in low copy numbers as compared with monocytes/macrophages. Thus, we explored how endothelial cells regulate TLR4 expression after LPS stimulation.


Cultured human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) were treated with LPS. TLR4 expression was analyzed by Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence staining. A disintegrin and metalloprotease 17 (ADAM17) activity was measured using a fluorescent substrate.


TLR4 in cell lysate began to decrease within 30 min of LPS treatment with a maximal reduction at 2 h, and it was accompanied by an increase of N-terminal fragment of TLR4 in culture supernatant, indicating ectodomain shedding of the receptor. LPS activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and ADAM17, while LPS-induced ADAM17 activation was inhibited by SB203580, a p38 MAPK inhibitor. LPS-induced ectodomain shedding of TLR4 was attenuated by siRNA depletion of ADAM17 as well as TAPI-2 (an inhibitor of ADAM family) and SB203580. LPS pretreatment resulted in a blunted response of p38 MAPK activation to further LPS stimulation. In the cells depleted of ADAM17, LPS-induced p38 MAPK activation was prolonged and LPS-induced intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression was potentiated.


HAECs respond to LPS by rapid shedding of the ectodomain of TLR4 and thereby reduce the responsiveness to subsequent LPS exposure. ADAM17, downstream of p38 MAPK, is implicated in the ectodomain cleavage of TLR4.


A disintegrin and metalloprotease 17; Aortic endothelial cells; Ectodomain shedding; Lipopolysaccharide; Toll-like receptor 4

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