Lung endothelial cell apoptosis during ischemic acute kidney injury

Laura E. White, Yan Cui, Carolyn M.Feltes Shelak, Mihaela L. Lie, Heitham T. Hassoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) activates cellular and soluble mediators that drive lung inflammatory cascades, tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1)-mediated programmed cell death, and microvascular barrier dysfunction, leading to acute lung injury. We hypothesized that lung microvascular endothelial cells (ECs), with their integral role in maintaining the lung-semipermeable barrier, were key cellular targets of TNFR1-mediated apoptosis during ischemic AKI. Male C57/BL6 mice and Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 60 min of bilateral renal pedicle occlusion (IRI) or sham laparotomy (sham) and were killed at 4 or 24 h. Colocalization with TUNEL, DAPI, and CD34 was performed to identify EC-specific apoptosis. Mouse ECs (CD45/CD31) isolated with novel tissue digestion techniques and magnetic microbead sorting underwent quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction SuperArray analysis with 84 apoptosis-related genes. In parallel, rat lung microvascular ECs grown to confluence were treated with serum from rats obtained following sham or kidney IRI. Rat lung microvascular ECs treated +-etanercept, a TNF-α/TNFR1 signaling inhibitor, underwent custom real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis for proapoptotic and TNF superfamily transcriptional events, and apoptosis was identified with caspase 3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activity assays. In vivo, TUNEL-positive cells colocalized with CD34 in whole-lung tissue and isolated lung ECs demonstrated a proapoptotic transcriptome during ischemic AKI. In vitro, ischemic AKI incited proapoptotic (FasL, Dapk1, Bcl10) and TNF superfamily (TNFR1, TNFR2, TNF-α) gene activation and increased caspase 3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activity at 24 h versus sham. Compared with vehicle, treatment of rat lung microvascular ECs with etanercept inhibited proinflammatory gene activation (E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, interleukin 6, RhoB) and apoptosis during ischemic AKI. Ischemic AKI drives distinct proinflammatory and proapoptotic changes in the pulmonary EC transcriptome with TNFR1-dependent caspase activation and programmed cell death. Further investigation of potential EC mechanisms of kidney-lung crosstalk during AKI may identify potential therapeutic targets for this deadly disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-327
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ischemia/reperfusion
  • acute lung injury
  • crosstalk
  • multiple organ failure
  • programmed cell death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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