Adenosine promotes vascular barrier function in hyperoxic lung injury

Physiol Rep. 2014 Sep 28;2(9):e12155. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12155. Print 2014 Sep 1.


Hyperoxic lung injury is characterized by cellular damage from high oxygen concentrations that lead to an inflammatory response in the lung with cellular infiltration and pulmonary edema. Adenosine is a signaling molecule that is generated extracellularly by CD73 in response to injury. Extracellular adenosine signals through cell surface receptors and has been found to be elevated and plays a protective role in acute injury situations. In particular, ADORA2B activation is protective in acute lung injury. However, little is known about the role of adenosine signaling in hyperoxic lung injury. We hypothesized that hyperoxia-induced lung injury leads to CD73-mediated increases in extracellular adenosine, which is protective through ADORA2B signaling pathways. To test this hypothesis, we exposed C57BL6, CD73(-/-), and Adora2B(-/-) mice to 95% oxygen or room air and examined markers of pulmonary inflammation, edema, and monitored lung histology. Hyperoxic exposure caused pulmonary inflammation and edema in association with elevations in lung adenosine levels. Loss of CD73-mediated extracellular adenosine production exacerbated pulmonary edema without affecting inflammatory cell counts. Furthermore, loss of the ADORA2B had similar results with worsening of pulmonary edema following hyperoxia exposure without affecting inflammatory cell infiltration. This loss of barrier function correlated with a decrease in occludin in pulmonary vasculature in CD73(-/-) and Adora2B(-/-) mice following hyperoxia exposure. These results demonstrate that exposure to a hyperoxic environment causes lung injury associated with an increase in adenosine concentration, and elevated adenosine levels protect vascular barrier function in hyperoxic lung injury through the ADORA2B-dependent regulation of occludin.

Keywords: Adenosine; hyperoxic lung injury; vascular barrier function.