Departmental Papers (BE)


MAPk Activation Modulates Permeability of Isolated Rat Alveolar Epithelial Cell Monolayers Following Cyclic Stretch

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We cultured (5 days) rat alveolar epithelial cells to investigate the role of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPk) signaling in ventilator induced epithelial barrier dysfunction. Cells were stretched to a magnitude of 12% or 37% change in surface area at a rate of 0.25 Hz with and without pretreatment with either the JNK inhibitor SP600125 or the ERK inhibitor U0126. Following stretch (0, 10, 30, or 60 min), MAPk phosphorylation was examined, monolayer permeability to the uncharged tracer carboxyfluorescein measured (0, 10, 60 min of stretch), and occludin expression determined (0 and 60 min of stretch). Stretch to 12%, previously shown not to increase monolayer permeability, did not alter phosphorylation of any MAPk or occludin expression at any time point. Following stretch to 37%, phosphorylation of JNK, ERK, and p38 was significantly higher by 10 minutes than in unstretched monolayers. Phosphorylation of JNK and p38 subsided as stretch continued, and by 30 minutes returned to unstretched levels. Phosphorylation of ERK remained significantly elevated compared to unstretched levels at all stretch durations. Epithelial permeability increased significantly by 10 minutes of stretch compared to unstretched controls, with further significant increases by 60 minutes. Inhibition with U0126 and SP600125 prevented stretch-induced phosphorylation increases of ERK and JNK, respectively, however neither prevented increases in permeability following 10 minutes. Separately, inhibition of JNK or ERK prevented subsequent additional permeability increases as stretch continued to 60 minute time points. Inhibition of JNK, not ERK, prevented loss of occludin, and minimized loss of cell-cell contact following 60 minutes of stretch. These data suggest that stretch-induced JNK signaling modulates epithelial permeability through regulation tight junction protein expression, and is a potential target for clinical treatments during mechanical ventilation.

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© 2010 Cohen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.