Vascular surgical stretch injury leads to activation of P2X7 receptors and impaired endothelial function

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A viable vascular endothelial layer prevents vasomotor dysfunction, thrombosis, inflammation, and intimal hyperplasia. Injury to the endothelium occurs during harvest and “back table” preparation of human saphenous vein prior to implantation as an arterial bypass conduit. A subfailure overstretch model of rat aorta was used to show that subfailure stretch injury of vascular tissue leads to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Stretch-induced impaired relaxation was mitigated by treatment with purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) inhibitors, brilliant blue FCF (FCF) and A740003, or apyrase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of ATP. Alternatively, treatment of rat aorta with exogenous ATP or 2’(3’)-O-(4-Benzoyl benzoyl)-ATP (BzATP) also impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Treatment of human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) with exogenous ATP led to reduced nitric oxide production which was associated with increased phosphorylation of the stress activated protein kinase, p38 MAPK. ATP- stimulated p38 MAPK phosphorylation of HSVEC was inhibited by FCF and SB203580. Moreover, ATP inhibition of nitric oxide production in HSVEC was prevented by FCF, SB203580, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition. Finally, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition restored endothelial dependent relaxation after stretch injury of rat aorta. These results suggest that vascular stretch injury leads to ATP release, activation of P2X7R and p38 MAPK resulting in endothelial dysfunction due to arginase activation. Endothelial function can be restored in both ATP treated HSVEC and intact stretch injured rat aorta by P2X7 receptor inhibition with FCF or L-arginine supplementation, implicating straightforward therapeutic options for treatment of surgical vascular injury.




Komalavilas, P., Luo, W., Guth, C. M., Jolayemi, O., Bartelson, R. I., Cheung-Flynn, J., & Brophy, C. M. (2017). Vascular surgical stretch injury leads to activation of P2X7 receptors and impaired endothelial function. PLoS ONE, 12(11).

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