Background: Microcirculatory dysfunction is associated with multiple organ failure and unfavorable patient outcome. We investigated whether therapeutically targeting the endothelial angiopoietin/Tie2 system preserves microvascular integrity during hemorrhagic shock.
Methods: Rats were treated with the angiopoietin-1 mimetic vasculotide and subjected to hemorrhagic shock and fluid resuscitation. Microcirculatory perfusion and leakage were assessed with intravital microscopy (n = 7 per group) and Evans blue dye extravasation (n = 8 per group), respectively. The angiopoietin/Tie2 system was studied at protein and RNA level in plasma, kidneys, and lungs.
Results: Hemorrhagic shock significantly reduced continuously perfused capillaries (7 ± 2 vs. 11 ± 2) and increased nonperfused vessels (9 ± 3 vs. 5 ± 2) during hemorrhagic shock, which could not be restored by fluid resuscitation. Hemorrhagic shock increased circulating angiopoietin-2 and soluble Tie2 significantly, which associated with microcirculatory perfusion disturbances. Hemorrhagic shock significantly decreased Tie2 gene expression in kidneys and lungs and induced microvascular leakage in kidneys (19.7 ± 11.3 vs. 5.2 ± 3.0 µg/g) and lungs (16.1 ± 7.0 vs. 8.6 ± 2.7 µg/g). Vasculotide had no effect on hemodynamics and microcirculatory perfusion during hemorrhagic shock but restored microcirculatory perfusion during fluid resuscitation. Interestingly, vasculotide attenuated microvascular leakage in lungs (10.1 ± 3.3 µg/g) and significantly reduced the required amount of volume supplementation (1.3 ± 1.4 vs. 2.8 ± 1.5 ml). Furthermore, vasculotide posttreatment was also able to restore microcirculatory perfusion during fluid resuscitation.
Conclusions: Targeting Tie2 restored microvascular leakage and microcirculatory perfusion and reduced fluid resuscitation requirements in an experimental model of hemorrhagic shock. Therefore, the angiopoietin/Tie2 system seems to be a promising target in restoring microvascular integrity and may reduce organ failure during hemorrhagic shock.