Intermedin (adrenomedullin2) stabilizes the endothelial barrier and antagonizes thrombin-induced barrier failure in endothelial cell monolayers

M Aslam, U Pfeil, D Gündüz, A Rafiq, W Kummer, H M Piper, T Noll
British Journal of Pharmacology 2012, 165 (1): 208-22

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intermedin is a member of the calcitonin gene-related-peptide (CGRP) family expressed in endothelial cells and acts via calcitonin receptor-like receptors (CLRs). Here we have analysed the receptors for intermedin and its effect on the endothelial barrier in monolayers of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs).

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: We analysed the effect of intermedin on albumin permeability, contractile machinery, actin cytoskeleton and VE-cadherin in cultured HUVECs.

KEY RESULTS: Intermedin concentration-dependently reduced basal endothelial permeability to albumin and antagonized thrombin-induced hyperpermeability. Intermedin was less potent (EC(50) 1.29 ± 0.12 nM) than adrenomedullin (EC(50) 0.24 ± 0.07 nM) in reducing endothelial permeability. These intermedin effects were inhibited by AM(22-52) and higher concentrations of αCGRP(8-37), with pA(2) values of αCGRP(8-37) of 6.4 for both intermedin and adrenomedullin. PCR data showed that HUVEC expressed only the CLR/RAMP2 receptor complex. Intermedin activated cAMP/PKA and cAMP/Epac signalling pathways. Intermedin's effect on permeability was blocked by inhibition of PKA but not of eNOS. Intermedin antagonized thrombin-induced contractile activation, RhoA activation and stress fibre formation. It also induced Rac1 activation, enhanced cell-cell adhesion and antagonized thrombin-induced loss of cell-cell adhesion. Treatment with a specific inhibitor of Rac1 prevented intermedin-mediated barrier stabilization.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Intermedin stabilized endothelial barriers in HUVEC monolayers via CLR/RAMP2 receptors. These effects were mediated via cAMP-mediated inactivation of contractility and strengthening of cell-cell adhesion. These findings identify intermedin as a barrier stabilizing agent and suggest intermedin as a potential treatment for vascular leakage in inflammatory conditions.

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