In intact mucosal tissues, epithelial cells are anatomically positioned in proximity to a number of subepithelial cell types, including endothelia. A number of recent studies have suggested that imbalances between energy supply and demand can result in "inflammatory hypoxia." Given these associations, we hypothesized that endothelial-derived, hypoxia-inducible mediators might influence epithelial function. Guided by cDNA microarray analysis of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1 line) subjected to hypoxia (pO2 20 torr, 8 h), we identified adrenomedullin (ADM) as a prominent hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) that acts on epithelial cells through cell surface receptors. We assessed the functional ability for exogenous ADM to signal in human intestinal Caco2 cells in vitro by demonstrating a dose-dependent induction of Erk1/2phosphorylation. Further analysis revealed that ADM deneddylates cullin-2 (Cul2), whose action has been demonstrated to control the activity of HIF. Caco2 cells stably expressing a hypoxic response element (HRE)-driven luciferase promoter confirmed that ADM activates the HIF signaling pathway. Extensions of these studies revealed an increase in canonical HIF-1-dependent genes following stimulation with ADM. To define physiological relevance, we investigated the effect of ADM in a DSS model of murine colitis. Administration of ADM resulted in reduced inflammatory indices and less severe histological inflammation compared to vehicle controls. Analysis of tissue and serum cytokines showed a marked and significant inhibition of colitis-associated TNF-α, IL-1β, and KC. Analysis of circulating ADM demonstrated an increase in serum ADM in murine models of colitis. Taken together, these results identify ADM as an endogenously generated vascular mediator that functions as a mucosal protective factor through fine tuning of HIF activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology