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Critical Care  2011 

The synthetic Tie2 agonist peptide vasculotide protects against vascular leakage and reduces mortality in murine abdominal sepsis

DOI: 10.1186/cc10523

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Polymicrobial abdominal sepsis in C57BL6 mice was induced by cecal-ligation-and-puncture (CLP). Mice were treated with different dosages of VT or equal volume of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Sham-operated animals served as time-matched controls.Systemic administration of VT induced long-lasting Tie2 activation in vivo. VT protected against sepsis-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction, as evidenced by attenuation of vascular leakage and leukocyte transmigration into the peritoneal cavity. Histological analysis revealed that VT treatment ameliorated leukocyte infiltration in kidneys of septic mice, probably due to reduced endothelial adhesion molecule expression. VT-driven effects were associated with significantly improved organ function and reduced circulating cytokine levels. The endothelial-specific action of VT was supported by additional in vitro studies showing no effect of VT on either cytokine release from isolated peritoneal macrophages, or migratory capacity of isolated neutrophils. Finally, administration of VT pre-CLP (hazard ratio 0.39 [95% confidence interval 0.19-0.81] P < 0.001) and post-CLP reduced mortality in septic mice (HR 0.22 [95% CI 0.06-0.83] P < 0.05).We provide proof of principle in support of the efficacious use of PEGylated VT, a drug-like Tie2 receptor agonist, to counteract microvascular endothelial barrier dysfunction and reduce mortality in a clinically relevant murine sepsis model. Further studies are needed to pave the road for clinical application of this therapeutic concept.In 1995/1996, Sato and colleagues [1] and Davis and colleagues [2] discovered Tie2 and its agonist ligand angiopoietin-1 (Angpt1) as the second class of vascular-specific receptor tyrosine kinases; the first was the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor system. Studies in Angpt1-/- and Tie2-/- knockout mice, which die in utero owing to severe vascular remodeling, convincingly demonstrated the importance of operational Angpt1/Tie2 signali


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