Organ-Specific Differences in Endothelial Permeability-Regulating Molecular Responses in Mouse and Human Sepsis

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Abstract

In patients with sepsis-induced multi-organ dysfunction syndrome, diverging patterns of oedema formation and loss of function in organs such as lung and kidney suggest that endothelial permeability-regulating molecular responses are differentially regulated. This potential differential regulation has been insufficiently studied at the level of components of adherens and tight junctions. We hypothesized that such a regulation by endothelial cells in sepsis takes place in an organ-specific manner. We addressed our hypothesis by studying by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction the expression of a predefined subset of EC permeability-related molecules (occludin, claudin-5, PV-1, CD-31, endomucin, Angiopoietin-1, Angiopoietin-2, Tie2, VEGFA, VEGFR1, VEGFR2, and VE-cadherin) in kidney and lung after systemic lipopolysacharide injection in mice, and in kidneys of patients who died of sepsis. We showed that baseline endothelial expression of permeability-related molecules differs in mouse kidney and lung. Moreover, we showed differential regulation of these molecules after lipopolysacharide injection in the two mouse organs. In lung we found a decrease in expression levels of molecules of the adherence and tight junctions complex and related signaling systems, compatible with increased permeability. In contrast, in kidney we found expression patterns of these molecules compatible with decreased permeability. Finally, we partially corroborated our findings in mouse kidney in human kidneys from septic patients. These findings may help to understand the clinical difference in the extent of oedema formation in kidney and lung in sepsis-associated organ failure.

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