Acute lung injury and its more severe form, acute respiratory distress syndrome, are life-threatening respiratory disorders. Overwhelming pulmonary inflammation and endothelium disruption are commonly observed. Endothelial cells (ECs) are well recognized as key regulators in leukocyte adhesion and migration in response to bacterial infection. Prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD)-2 protein, a major PHD in ECs, plays a critical role in intracellular oxygen homeostasis, angiogenesis, and pulmonary hypertension. However, its role in endothelial inflammatory response is unclear. We investigated the role of PHD2 in ECs during endotoxin-induced lung inflammatory responses with EC-specific PHD2 inducible knockout mice. On lipopolysaccharide challenge, PHD2 depletion in ECs attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced increases of lung vascular permeability, edema, and inflammatory cell infiltration. Moreover, EC-specific PHD2 inducible knockout mice exhibit improved adherens junction integrity and endothelial barrier function. Mechanistically, PHD2 knockdown induces vascular endothelial cadherin in mouse lung microvascular primary endothelial cells. Moreover, PHD2 knockdown can increase hypoxia-inducible factor/vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase signaling and reactive oxygen species-dependent p38 activation, leading to the induction of vascular endothelial cadherin. Data indicate that PHD2 depletion prevents the formation of leaky vessels and edema by regulating endothelial barrier function. It provides direct in vivo evidence to suggest that PHD2 plays a pivotal role in vascular inflammation. The inhibition of endothelial PHD2 activity may be a new therapeutic strategy for acute inflammatory diseases.
Copyright © 2019 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.