AD Lockett, S Kimani, G Ddungu, S Wrenger, RM Tuder, SM Janciauskiene, I Petrache
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol
α₁-Antitrypsin (A1AT) is an acute-phase reactant, but also a major protective factor against the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a complex disease with sustained chronic inflammation. The lung-protective effects of A1AT have been attributed to the inhibition of proteases involved in lung matrix fragmentation, macrophage activation, and endothelial-cell apoptosis. More recently, A1AT has been shown to directly interact with or modulate the actions of cytokines such as TNF-α or IL-1 in inflammatory cells, but its effect on the lung endothelium, an active participant in the amplification and resolution of inflammation, has received little attention. An important role of A1AT in modulating lung endothelial inflammatory responses is expected, given the high concentrations of circulating A1AT during inflammation and its active uptake by endothelial cells. We investigated the role of A1AT in primary lung microvascular endothelial cell activation by relevant cytokines such as TNF-α or IL-1β. Despite an initial marked augmentation of TNF-α self-induced transcription, A1AT inhibited TNF-α receptor 1 up-regulation and significantly reduced TNF-α secretion, effects that were associated with inhibition of TNF-α-converting enzyme activity. Furthermore, A1AT inhibited calpain activity, whose activation by TNF-α contributed to decreased intracellular A1AT concentrations. These data indicate that A1AT initially facilitates acute responses of the endothelium to TNF-α, followed by selective inhibition of TNF-α-induced-self amplification, which may assist the vasculature in the resolution of chronic inflammation.