Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effects and molecular mechanisms of eotaxin, a newly discovered chemokine (CCL11), on endothelial permeability in the human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs).
Methods and results: Cells were treated with eotaxin, and the monolayer permeability was studied by using a costar transwell system with a Texas Red-labeled dextran tracer. Eotaxin significantly increased monolayer permeability in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, eotaxin treatment significantly decreased the mRNA and protein levels of endothelial junction molecules including zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin, and claudin-1 in a concentration-dependent manner as determined by real-time RT-PCR and Western blot analysis, respectively. Increased oxidative stress was observed in eotaxin-treated HCAECs by analysis of cellular glutathione levels. Furthermore, eotaxin treatment substantially activated the phosphorylation of MAPK p38. HCAECs expressed CCR3. Consequently, antioxidants (ginkgolide B and MnTBAP), specific p38 inhibitor SB203580, and anti-CCR3 antibody effectively blocked the eotaxin-induced permeability increase in HCAECs. Eotaxin also increased the phosphorylation of Stat3 and nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in HCAECs.
Conclusions: Eotaxin increases vascular permeability through CCR3, the downregulation of tight junction proteins, increase of oxidative stress, and activation of MAPK p38, Stat3, and NF-kB pathways in HCAECs.