LA Green, D Petrusca, G Rajashekhar, T Gianaris, KS Schweitzer, L Wang, MJ Justice, I Petrache, M Clauss
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol
Endothelial monocyte-activating polypeptide II (EMAP II) and interferon-inducible protein (IP)-10 are proinflammatory mediators, which in addition to their chemokine activities, selectively induce apoptosis in endothelial cells and are up-regulated in the lungs of cigarette smoke-exposed humans. Previously, we showed that EMAP II is an essential mediator of cigarette smoke-induced lung emphysema in mice linking endothelial cell apoptosis with inflammation. Here we addressed the role of the CXCR3 receptor in EMAP II-induced and IP-10-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells and its regulation by cigarette smoke. We found that both neutralizing antibodies and small inhibitory RNA to CXCR3 abrogated EMAP II-induced and IP-10-induced endothelial caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation. CXCR3 receptor surface expression in human lung microvascular endothelial cells and in lung tissue endothelium was up-regulated by exposure to cigarette smoke. In tissue culture conditions, EMAP II-induced and IP-10-induced apoptosis was enhanced by preincubation with cigarette smoke extract. Interestingly, serum starvation also induced CXCR3 up-regulation and enhanced EMAP II-induced endothelial apoptosis. Signal transduction via p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation was essential for CXCR3-induced cell death, but not for CXCR3 receptor up-regulation by cigarette smoke. In turn, protein nitration was required for CXCR3 receptor up-regulation by cigarette smoke and consequently for subsequent CXCR3-induced cell death. In conclusion, the concerted up-regulation of proinflammatory EMAP II, IP-10, and CXCR3 by cigarette smoke could sustain a cascade of cell death that may promote the alveolar tissue loss noted in human emphysema.