Mechanisms of endotoxin tolerance in human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells

Hitoshi Ogawa, Parvaneh Rafiee, Jan Heidemann, Pamela J. Fisher, Nathan A. Johnson, Mary F. Otterson, Balaraman Kalyanaraman, Kirkwood A. Pritchard, David G. Binion

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)


    Lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin) tolerance is well described in monocytes and macrophages, but is less well characterized in endothelial cells. Because intestinal microvascular endothelial cells exhibit a strong immune response to LPS challenge and play a critical regulatory role in gut inflammation, we sought to characterize the activation response of these cells to repeated LPS exposure. Primary cultures of human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells (HIMEC) were stimulated with LPS over 6-60 h and activation was assessed using U937 leukocyte adhesion, expression of E-selectin, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, IL-6, IL-8, manganese superoxide dismutase, HLA-DR, and CD86. Effect of repeat LPS stimulation on HIMEC NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, generation of superoxide anion, and Toll-like receptor 4 expression was characterized. LPS pretreatment of HIMEC for 24-48 h significantly decreased leukocyte adhesion after subsequent LPS stimulation. LPS pretreatment inhibited expression of E-selectin, VCAM-1, IL-6, and CD86, while ICAM-1, IL-8, and HLA-DR were not altered. Manganese superoxide dismutase expression increased with repeated LPS stimulation, with a reduction in intracellular superoxide. NF-κB activation was transiently inhibited by LPS pretreatment for 6 h, but not at later time points. In contrast, p44/42 MAPK, p38 MAPK, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation demonstrated inhibition by LPS pretreatment 24 or 48 h prior. Toll-like receptor 4 expression on HIMEC was not altered by LPS. HIMEC exhibit endotoxin tolerance after repeat LPS exposure in vitro, characterized by diminished activation and intracellular superoxide anion concentration, and reduced leukocyte adhesion. HIMEC possess specific mechanisms of immunoregulatory hyporesponsiveness to repeated LPS exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5956-5964
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun 15

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology


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