Hypoxia-inducible factor plays a gut-injurious role in intestinal ischemia reperfusion injury

Kolenkode B. Kannan, Iriana Colorado, Diego Reino, David Palange, Qi Lu, Xiaofa Qin, Billy Abungu, Anthony Watkins, Francis J. Caputo, Da Zhong Xu, Gregg L. Semenza, Edwin A. Deitch, Rena Feinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Gut injury and loss of normal intestinal barrier function are key elements in the paradigm of gutorigin systemic inflammatory response syndrome, acute lung injury, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). As hypoxiainducible factor (HIF-1) is a critical determinant of the physiological and pathophysiological response to hypoxia and ischemia, we asked whether HIF-1 plays a proximal role in the induction of gut injury and subsequent lung injury. Using partially HIF-1α-deficient mice in an isolated superior mesenteric artery occlusion (SMAO) intestinal ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury model (45 min SMAO followed by 3 h of reperfusion), we showed a direct relationship between HIF-1 activation and intestinal I/R injury. Specifically, partial HIF-1α deficiency attenuated SMAO-induced increases in intestinal permeability, lipid peroxidation, mucosal caspase-3 activity, and IL-1β mRNA levels. Furthermore, partial HIF-1α deficiency prevented the induction of ileal mucosal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein levels after SMAO and iNOS deficiency ameliorated SMAO-induced villus injury. Resistance to SMAO-induced gut injury was also associated with resistance to lung injury, as reflected by decreased levels of myeloperoxidase, IL-6 and IL-10 in the lungs of HIF-1α+/- mice. In contrast, a short duration of SMAO (15 min) followed by 3 h of reperfusion neither induced mucosal HIF-1α protein levels nor caused significant gut and lung injury in wild-type or HIF-1α+/- mice. This study indicates that intestinal HIF-1 activation is a proximal regulator of I/R-induced gut mucosal injury and gut-induced lung injury. However, the duration and severity of the gut I/R insult dictate whether HIF-1 plays a gut-protective or deleterious role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G853-G861
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Inflammation
  • Mucosal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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