In vivo knockdown of intersectin-1s alters endothelial cell phenotype and causes microvascular remodeling in the mouse lungs

Cristina Bardita, Dan Predescu, Matthew J. Justice, Irina Petrache, Sanda Predescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Intersectin-1s (ITSN-1s) is a general endocytic protein involved in regulating lung vascular permeability and endothelial cells (ECs) survival, via MEK/Erk1/2MAPK signaling. To investigate the in vivo effects of ITSN-1s deficiency and the resulting ECs apoptosis on pulmonary vasculature and lung homeostasis, we used an ITSN-1s knocked-down (KDITSN) mouse generated by repeated delivery of a specific siRNA targeting ITSN-1 gene (siRNAITSN). Biochemical and histological analyses as well as electron microscopy (EM) revealed that acute KDITSN [3-days (3d) post-siRNAITSN treatment] inhibited Erk1/2MAPK pro-survival signaling, causing significant ECs apoptosis and lung injury; at 10d of KDITSN, caspase-3 activation was at peak, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive ECs showed 3.4-fold increase, the mean linear intercept (MLI) showed 48 % augment and pulmonary microvessel density as revealed by aquaporin-1 staining (AQP-1) decreased by 30 %, all compared to controls; pulmonary function was altered. Concomitantly, expression of several growth factors known to activate Erk1/2MAPK and suppress Bad pro-apoptotic activity increased. KD ITSN altered Smads activity, downstream of the transforming growth factor beta-receptor-1 (TβR1), as shown by subcellular fractionation and immunoblot analyses. Moreover, 24d post-siRNAITSN, surviving ECs became hyper-proliferative and apoptotic-resistant against ITSN-1s deficiency, as demonstrated by EM imaging, 5-bromo-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation and Bad-Ser112/155 phosphorylation, respectively, leading to increased microvessel density and repair of the injured lungs, as well as matrix deposition. In sum, ECs endocytic dysfunction and apoptotic death caused by KDITSN contribute to the initial lung injury and microvascular loss, followed by endothelial phenotypic changes and microvascular remodeling in the remaining murine pulmonary microvascular bed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Apoptosis
  • Endothelial cells
  • Microvascular remodeling
  • Phenotypic changes
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology

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