Activation of mas restores hyperoxia-induced loss of lung epithelial barrier function through inhibition of apoptosis

J Lung Pulm Respir Res. 2019;6(3):58-62. Epub 2019 Jul 18.


Background: Neonatal therapy with a high concentration of oxygen (hyperoxia) is a known cause of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). BPD is characterized by increased pulmonary permeability and diffuse infiltration of various inflammatory cells. Disruption of the epithelial barrier may lead to altered pulmonary permeability and airways fluid accumulation. Mas receptor is a component of the renin angiotensin system and is the receptor for the protective endogenous peptide angiotensin 1-7. The activation of the Mas receptor was previously shown to have protective pulmonary responses. However, the effect of Mas receptor activation on epithelial barrier integrity has not been tested.

Objective: To determine the effects of hyperoxia with or without Mas receptor activation on epithelial cell barrier integrity.

Design/methods: Human epithelial cell line A549 was cultured on transwell polycarbonate porous membrane to confluence and treated with 95% oxygen (hyperoxia) for 72 hours with or without the Mas receptor agonist (AVE0991), or the apoptotic inhibitors Z-VAD-FMK or aurintricarboxylic acid. The cells were then challenged with Rhodamine labeled bovine serum albumin (Rh-BSA) on one side of the membrane. Fluorescent quantitation of Rh-BSA (albumin flux) was performed on the media in the other side of the membrane 3 hours later and was compared with 21% oxygen (Normoxia) control group. A549 cells were also cultured with or without AVE0991 in hyperoxia or normoxia and used for nuclear fragmentation apoptosis assay using propidium iodide staining.

Results: Hyperoxia induced an increase in albumin flux that was significantly prevented by AVE0991 treatment and by the apoptosis inhibitors. AVE0991 also significantly decreased the hyperoxia-induced nuclear fragmentation.

Conclusion: These results suggest that hyperoxia causes a disruption in the epithelial barrier integrity, and that this disruption is inhibited by the Mas receptor agonist AVE0991 through inhibition of epithelial apoptosis. These results reveal a novel potential drug for BPD and pulmonary edema treatment.

Keywords: alveolar epithelia; angiotensin; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; hyperoxia; pulmonary edema.