The ICAM-1 expression level determines the susceptibility of human endothelial cells to simulated microgravity

Ludmila B. Buravkova, Eugene G. Rudimov, Elena R. Andreeva, Anatoly I. Grigoriev
  • Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, November 2017, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/jcb.26465

EC susceptibility to SMG depends on ICAM-1 levels

What is it about?

Microgravity is a principal risk factor hampering human cardiovascular regulation during space flights. Endothelial dysfunction associated with the impaired integrity and uniformity of the monolayer represents a potential trigger for vascular damage. We characterized the expression profile of the multi-step cascade of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin, VE-cadherin) in umbilical cord endothelial cells (ECs) after 24 hrs of exposure to simulated microgravity (SMG), pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-and the combination of the two. Random Positioning Machine (RPM)-mediated SMG was used to mimic microgravity effects. SMG stimulated the expression of E-selectin, which is known to be involved in slowing leukocyte rolling. Primary ECs displayed heterogeneity with respect to the proportion of ICAM-1-positive cells. ECs were divided into two groups: pre-activated ECs displaying high proportion of ICAM-1+-cells (ECs-1) (greater than 50%) and non-activated ECs with low proportion of ICAM-1+-cells (ECs-2) (less than 25%). Only non-activated ECs-2 responded to SMG by elevating gene transcription and increasing ICAM-1 and VE-cadherin expression. This effect was enhanced after cumulative SMG-TNF-exposure. ECs-1 displayed an unexpected decrease in number of E-selectin- and ICAM-1-positive ECs and pronounced up-regulation of VCAM1 upon activation of inflammation, which was partially abolished by SMG. Thus, non-activated ECs-2 are quite resistant to the impacts of microgravity and even exhibited an elevation of the VE-cadherin gene and protein expression, thus improving the integrity of the endothelial monolayer.

Why is it important?

Pre-activation of ECs with inflammatory stimuli may disturb the EC adhesion profile, attenuating its barrier function. These alterations may be among the mechanisms underlying cardiovascular dysregulation in real microgravity conditions.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Elena R Andreeva and Ludmila Buravkova