Exposure of cultured endothelium to environments with low concentrations of oxygen, in the range of those observed in pathophysiologic hypoxemic states in vivo, compromises cellular barrier and coagulant function. An atmosphere with PO2 ≃ 14 mm Hg was not lethally toxic to endothelial cultures, but cells became larger and exhibited small intercellular gaps. At low oxygen concentrations, passage of macromolecular tracers through hypoxic endothelial monolayers was accelerated in a time- and dose-dependent manner, presumably by a paracellular pathway via the gaps. Cell surface coagulant properties of the endothelium were also perturbed. At PO2 ≃ 14 mm Hg thrombomodulin antigen and functional activity on the cell surface were diminished by 80-90%, and Northern blots demonstrated suppression of thrombomodulin mRNA. The decrease in thrombomodulin was twice as great compared with the general decline in total protein synthesis in hypoxia. In addition, expression of a direct Factor X activator developed under hypoxic conditions; the activator was membrane-associated and expressed on the surface of intact cultures, Ca-dependent, inhibited by HgCl2 but not PMSF, and had K(m) ≃ 25 μg/ml for the substrate at pH 7.4. Synthesis of the activator was blocked by inclusion of cycloheximide, but not warfarin, in the culture medium. These results demonstrate that endothelial function is perturbed in a selective manner in the presence of low concentrations of oxygen, providing insights into mechanisms which may contribute to vascular dysfunction in hypoxemic states.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Investigation|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|
- vascular injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas