Inhaled TRIM72 Protein Protects Ventilation Injury to the Lung through Injury-guided Cell Repair

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Studies showed that TRIM72 is essential for repair of alveolar cell membrane disruptions, and exogenous recombinant human TRIM72 protein (rhT72) demonstrated tissue-mending properties in animal models of tissue injury. Here we examine the mechanisms of rhT72-mediated lung cell protection in vitro and test the efficacy of inhaled rhT72 in reducing tissue pathology in a mouse model of ventilator-induced lung injury. In vitro lung cell injury was induced by glass beads and stretching. Ventilator-induced lung injury was modeled by injurious ventilation at 30 ml/kg tidal volume. Affinity-purified rhT72 or control proteins were added into culture medium or applied through nebulization. Cellular uptake and in vivo distribution of rhT72 were detected by imaging and immunostaining. Exogenous rhT72 maintains membrane integrity of alveolar epithelial cells subjected to glass bead injury in a dose-dependent manner. Inhaled rhT72 decreases the number of fatally injured alveolar cells, and ameliorates tissue-damaging indicators and cell injury markers after injurious ventilation. Using in vitro stretching assays, we reveal that rhT72 improves both cellular resilience to membrane wounding and membrane repair after injury. Image analysis detected rhT72 uptake by rat alveolar epithelial cells, which can be inhibited by a cholesterol-disrupting agent. In addition, inhaled rhT72 distributes to the distal lungs, where it colocalizes with phosphatidylserine detection on nonpermeabilized lung slices to label wounded cells. In conclusion, our study showed that inhaled rhT72 accumulates in injured lungs and protects lung tissue from ventilator injury, the mechanisms of which include improving cell resilience to membrane wounding, localizing to injured membrane, and augmenting membrane repair.

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