Cytoskeletal architecture regulates cyclooxygenase-2 in human endothelial cells: Autocrine modulation by prostacyclin

Sonia Eligini, Paola Songia, Viviana Cavalca, Mauro Crisci, Elena Tremoli, Susanna Colli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelium is a highly dynamic tissue that controls vascular homeostasis. This requires constant rearrangements of the shape or function of endothelial cells that cannot set aside the role of the cytoskeleton. The aim of this study was to determine the mechanisms by means of which cytoskeletal alterations induce cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) expression in human endothelial cells using compounds that interfere with microtubule or actin architecture. Microtubule disruption by nocodazole markedly increased Cox-2 expression and activity, and provoked paracellular gap formation, a cardinal feature of endothelial barrier dysfunction. The Cox-2 metabolite prostacyclin down-regulated Cox-2 through an autocrine receptor-mediated mechanism, and partially prevented the disassembly of endothelial monolayers. There was also an interaction between microtubules and actin filaments in nocodazole-induced Cox-2 expression. Nocodazole provoked the dissolution of the F-actin cortical ring and stress fiber formation, increased actin glutathionylation, and concomitantly lowered intracellular levels of reduced glutathione. The restoration of glutathione levels by N-acetylcysteine opposed Cox-2 expression and preserved the integrity of endothelial monolayers. Among the signaling pathways connecting microtubule disruption with Cox-2 up-regulation, crucial roles are played by Src family kinase activation, serine/threonine phosphatase 2A inhibition, and the phosphorylation of mitogen activated protein kinase p38. Our findings provide a mechanistic insight into the observation that Cox-2 is induced in endothelial cells under cytoskeleton-perturbing conditions such as those occurring in the presence of atherogenic/inflammatory stimuli and oxidative stress. In this scenario, Cox-2 up-regulation by endothelia exposed to noxious conditions can be considered protective of the vasodilatory and anti-thrombotic properties of the vessel wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3847-3856
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cytoskeletal architecture regulates cyclooxygenase-2 in human endothelial cells: Autocrine modulation by prostacyclin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this