Catecholaminergic Vasopressors Reduce Toll-Like Receptor Agonist-Induced Microvascular Endothelial Cell Permeability But Not Cytokine Production

Jérémie Joffre, Elliot Lloyd, Erika Wong, Che Chung-Yeh, Nina Nguyen, Fenguyn Xu, Matthieu Legrand, Judith Hellman
Critical Care Medicine 2021 January 22

OBJECTIVES: Catecholaminergic vasopressors are the cornerstone of circulatory shock management. Nevertheless, catecholamines have problematic side effects, arousing a growing interest in noncatecholaminergic agents such as vasopressin or angiotensin-II. However, their respective effects on sepsis-associated microvascular endothelial dysfunction such as permeability or inflammation remain elusive. We investigated the role of catecholamines and other vasopressors on Toll-like receptor agonists-induced microvascular endothelial permeability and inflammation.

SETTING: University research laboratory/cell research.

SUBJECTS: Human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells from multiple donors.

INTERVENTION: Confluent monolayers of human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell were treated with Toll-like receptor agonists (lipopolysaccharide, Poly[I:C], or tripalmitoyl-S-glyceryl cysteine) in the presence or absence of epinephrine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, and angiotensin-II. Permeability was inferred from transendothelial resistance, measured using electrical cell impedance sensing, where decreased transendothelial resistance is consistent with increased permeability. Cell-cell junction molecule expression was assessed via immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. We quantified cytokines in supernatants of Toll-like receptor agonist-treated human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Epinephrine and norepinephrine both ameliorate lipopolysaccharide, polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid, or tripalmitoyl-S-glyceryl cysteine-induced reductions in transendothelial resistance, a surrogate for endothelial permeability. In contrast, the noncatecholaminergic agents, vasopressin, and angiotensin-II did not affect Toll-like receptor agonist-induced reductions in transendothelial resistance. β1- and β2-adrenergic receptor antagonists reduced the effects of the catecholamines on transendothelial resistance, whereas α-adrenergic receptor antagonists did not. We observed that epinephrine and norepinephrine induced actin cytoskeletal rearrangement and normalized the membrane expression of proteins involved with adherens-junctions (vascular endothelial-cadherin) and tight-junctions (zona occludens-1). Despite having a substantial effect on endothelial permeability, epinephrine and norepinephrine did not affect human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell survival or production of interleukin-8, interleukin-6, or monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (CCL-2) induced by Toll-like receptor agonists, suggesting that these functions are regulated separately from permeability.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that treatment with epinephrine or norepinephrine strongly reduces endothelial permeability induced by agonists of multiple Toll-like receptors (Toll-like receptor-2, Toll-like receptor-3, Toll-like receptor-4) in vitro. Our studies suggest that both β1- and β2-adrenergic receptor mediate the stabilizing effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine on the endothelial barrier.

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