Trauma-Hemorrhagic Shock Mesenteric Lymph Induces Endothelial Apoptosis That Involves Both Caspase-Dependent and Caspase-Independent Mechanisms

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To determine the mechanism by which gut-derived factors present in mesenteric lymph from rats subjected to trauma-hemorrhagic shock (T/HS) induce endothelial cell death.

Summary Background Data:

Intestinal ischemia after hemorrhagic shock results in gut barrier dysfunction and the subsequent production of biologically active and tissue injurious factors by the ischemic gut. These factors are carried in the mesenteric lymph and reach the systemic circulation via the mesenteric lymph, thereby ultimately resulting in distant organ injury. Although studies have established that trauma-hemorrhagic (T/HS) shock but not trauma-sham-shock (T/SS) mesenteric lymph is cytotoxic to endothelial cells, whether T/HS lymph-induced endothelial cell death occurs via an apoptotic or a necrotic pathway is unknown. The mechanisms underlying T/HS lymph-induced cytotoxicity are likewise unknown.


Human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) monolayers were incubated with medium, sham-shock, or post shock mesenteric lymph (5%) for 4 hours, after which the mode of cell death (ie, apoptosis versus necrosis) was determined using morphologic (confocal microscopy), biochemical (nucleosomal release), and DNA-based (gel electrophoresis) assays. To clarify the cellular pathways involved in T/HS lymph-induced HUVEC cell death, caspase-3, caspase-9, caspase-8, and BID activity was measured as was the ability of the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk to prevent T/HS lymph-induced cell death.


T/HS, but not T/SS, mesenteric lymph or medium was cytotoxic and caused the appearance of the classic morphologic signs of apoptosis, including membrane blebbing, cell shrinkage, and apoptotic body formation. Nucleosomal release and a DNA laddering pattern was also observed in the HUVECs incubated with T/HS lymph. These signs of apoptosis were associated with increased caspase activity as reflected in activation of the pro-apoptotic caspases, caspase-8, -9, and -3, as well as the pro-apoptotic bcl-2-related protein BID. However, since the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk delayed T/HS lymph-induced HUVEC cell death, but did not prevent it fully, it appears that other factors besides caspases are involved in the endothelial cell toxicity of T/HS lymph.


Gut-derived factors in T/HS, but not T/SS, mesenteric lymph cause endothelial cell death via an apoptotic mechanism that involves both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways.

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