Sphingolipid-mediated inhibition of apoptotic cell clearance by alveolar macrophages.
ABSTRACT: A decreased clearance of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) by alveolar macrophages (AM) may contribute to inflammation in emphysema. The up-regulation of ceramides in response to cigarette smoking (CS) has been linked to AM accumulation and increased detection of apoptotic alveolar epithelial and endothelial cells in lung parenchyma. We hypothesized that ceramides inhibit the AM phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Release of endogenous ceramides via sphingomyelinase or exogenous ceramide treatments dose-dependently impaired apoptotic Jurkat cell phagocytosis by primary rat or human AM, irrespective of the molecular species of ceramide. Similarly, in vivo augmentation of lung ceramides via intratracheal instillation in rats significantly decreased the engulfment of instilled target apoptotic thymocytes by resident AM. The mechanism of ceramide-induced efferocytosis impairment was dependent on generation of sphingosine via ceramidase. Sphingosine treatment recapitulated the effects of ceramide, dose-dependently inhibiting apoptotic cell clearance. The effect of ceramide on efferocytosis was associated with decreased membrane ruffle formation and attenuated Rac1 plasma membrane recruitment. Constitutively active Rac1 overexpression rescued AM efferocytosis against the effects of ceramide. CS exposure significantly increased AM ceramides and recapitulated the effect of ceramides on Rac1 membrane recruitment in a sphingosine-dependent manner. Importantly, CS profoundly inhibited AM efferocytosis via ceramide-dependent sphingosine production. These results suggest that excessive lung ceramides may amplify lung injury in emphysema by causing both apoptosis of structural cells and inhibition of their clearance by AM.
Project description:Key host responses to the stress induced by environmental exposure to cigarette smoke (CS) are responsible for initiating pathogenic effects that may culminate in emphysema development. CS increases lung ceramides, sphingolipids involved in oxidative stress, structural alveolar cell apoptosis, and inhibition of apoptotic cell clearance by alveolar macrophages, leading to the development of emphysema-like pathology. RTP801, a hypoxia and oxidative stress sensor, is also increased by CS, and has been recently implicated in both apoptosis and inflammation. We investigated whether inductions of ceramide and RTP801 are mechanistically linked, and evaluated their relative importance in lung cell apoptosis and airspace enlargement in vivo. As reported, direct lung instillation of either RTP801 expression plasmid or ceramides in mice triggered alveolar cell apoptosis and oxidative stress. RTP801 overexpression up-regulated lung ceramide levels 2.6-fold. In turn, instillation of lung ceramides doubled the lung content of RTP801. Cell sorting after lung tissue dissociation into single-cell suspension showed that ceramide triggers both endothelial and epithelial cell apoptosis in vivo. Interestingly, mice lacking rtp801 were protected against ceramide-induced apoptosis of epithelial type II cells, but not type I or endothelial cells. Furthermore, rtp801-null mice were protected from ceramide-induced alveolar enlargement, and exhibited improved static lung compliance compared with wild-type mice. In conclusion, ceramide and RTP801 participate in alveolar cell apoptosis through a process of mutual up-regulation, which may result in self-amplification loops, leading to alveolar damage.
Project description:Alveolar cell apoptosis is involved in the pathogenesis of emphysema, a prevalent disease primarily caused by cigarette smoking. We report that ceramide, a second messenger lipid, is a crucial mediator of alveolar destruction in emphysema. Inhibition of enzymes controlling de novo ceramide synthesis prevented alveolar cell apoptosis, oxidative stress and emphysema caused by blockade of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors in both rats and mice. Emphysema was reproduced with intratracheal instillation of ceramide in naive mice. Excessive ceramide triggers a feed-forward mechanism mediated by activation of secretory acid sphingomyelinase, as suggested by experiments with neutralizing ceramide antibody in mice and with acid sphingomyelinase-deficient fibroblasts. Concomitant augmentation of signaling initiated by a prosurvival metabolite, sphingosine-1-phosphate, prevented lung apoptosis, implying that a balance between ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate is required for maintenance of alveolar septal integrity. Finally, increased lung ceramides in individuals with smoking-induced emphysema suggests that ceramide upregulation may be a crucial pathogenic element and a promising target in this disease that currently lacks effective therapies.
Project description:The de novo pathway of ceramide synthesis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of excessive lung apoptosis and murine emphysema. Intracellular and paracellular-generated ceramides may trigger apoptosis and propagate the death signals to neighboring cells, respectively. In this study we compared the sphingolipid signaling pathways triggered by the paracellular- versus intracellular-generated ceramides as they induce lung endothelial cell apoptosis, a process important in emphysema development. Intermediate-chain length (C(8:0)) extracellular ceramides, used as a surrogate of paracellular ceramides, triggered caspase-3 activation in primary mouse lung endothelial cells, similar to TNF-alpha-generated endogenous ceramides. Inhibitory siRNA against serine palmitoyl transferase subunit 1 but not acid sphingomyelinase inhibited both C(8:0) ceramide- and TNF-alpha (plus cycloheximide)-induced apoptosis, consistent with the requirement for activation of the de novo pathway of sphingolipid synthesis. Tandem mass spectrometry analysis detected increases in both relative and absolute levels of C(16:0) ceramide in response to C(8:0) and TNF-alpha treatments. These results implicate the de novo pathway of ceramide synthesis in the apoptotic effects of both paracellular ceramides and TNF-alpha-stimulated intracellular ceramides in primary lung endothelial cells. The serine palmitoyl synthase-regulated ceramides synthesis may contribute to the amplification of pulmonary vascular injury induced by excessive ceramides.
Project description:Cigarette smoke (CS) is the primary cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an effect that is, in part, due to intense oxidant stress. Clearance of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) is a critical regulator of lung homeostasis, which is defective in smokers and in patients with COPD, suggesting a role in disease pathogenesis.We hypothesized that CS would impair efferocytosis through oxidant-dependent activation of RhoA, a known inhibitor of this process.We investigated the effect of CS on efferocytosis in vivo and ex vivo, using acute, subacute, and long-term mouse exposure models.Acute and subacute CS exposure suppressed efferocytosis by alveolar macrophages in a dose-dependent, reversible, and cell type-independent manner, whereas more intense CS exposure had an irreversible effect. In contrast, CS did not alter ingestion through the Fc gamma receptor. The inhibitory effect of CS on apoptotic cell clearance depended on oxidants, because the effect was blunted in oxidant-resistant ICR mice, and was prevented by either genetic or pharmacologic antioxidant strategies in vivo and ex vivo. CS inhibited efferocytosis through oxidant-dependent activation of the RhoA-Rho kinase pathway because (1) CS activated RhoA, (2) antioxidants prevented RhoA activation by CS, and (3) inhibitors of the RhoA-Rho kinase pathway reversed the suppressive effect of CS on apoptotic cell clearance in vivo and ex vivo.These findings advance the hypothesis that impaired efferocytosis may contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD and suggest the therapeutic potential of drugs targeting the RhoA-Rho kinase pathway.
Project description:The molecular events leading to emphysema development include generation of oxidative stress and alveolar cell apoptosis. Oxidative stress upregulates ceramides, proapoptotic signaling sphingolipids that trigger further oxidative stress and alveolar space enlargement, as shown in an experimental model of emphysema due to VEGF blockade. As alveolar cell apoptosis and oxidative stress mutually interact to mediate alveolar destruction, we hypothesized that the oxidative stress generated by ceramide is required for its pathogenic effect on lung alveoli. To model the direct lung effects of ceramide, mice received ceramide intratracheally (Cer(12:0) or Cer(8:0); 1 mg/kg) or vehicle. Apoptosis was inhibited with a general caspase inhibitor. Ceramide augmentation shown to mimic levels found in human emphysema lungs increased oxidative stress, and decreased, independently of caspase activation, the lung superoxide dismutase activity at 48 h. In contrast to their wild-type littermates, transgenic mice overexpressing human Cu/Zn SOD were significantly protected from ceramide-induced superoxide production, apoptosis, and air space enlargement. Activation of lung acid sphingomyelinase in response to ceramide treatment was abolished in the Cu/Zn SOD transgenic mice. Since cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in mice is similarly ameliorated by the Cu/Zn SOD overexpression, we hypothesized that cigarette smoke may induce ceramides in the mouse lung. Utilizing tandem mass spectrometry, we documented increased lung ceramides in adult mice exposed to cigarette smoke for 4 wk. In conclusion, ceramide-induced superoxide accumulation in the lung may be a critical step in ceramide's proapoptotic effect in the lung. This work implicates excessive lung ceramides as amplifiers of lung injury through redox-dependent mechanisms.
Project description:Circulating endothelial microparticles (EMPs) are emerging as biomarkers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in individuals exposed to cigarette smoke (CS), but their mechanism of release and function remain unknown. We assessed biochemical and functional characteristics of EMPs and circulating microparticles (cMPs) released by CS. CS exposure was sufficient to increase microparticle levels in plasma of humans and mice, and in supernatants of primary human lung microvascular endothelial cells. CS-released EMPs contained predominantly exosomes that were significantly enriched in let-7d, miR-191; miR-126; and miR125a, microRNAs that reciprocally decreased intracellular in CS-exposed endothelium. CS-released EMPs and cMPs were ceramide-rich and required the ceramide-synthesis enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) for their release, an enzyme which was found to exhibit significantly higher activity in plasma of COPD patients or of CS-exposed mice. The ex vivo or in vivo engulfment of EMPs or cMPs by peripheral blood monocytes-derived macrophages was associated with significant inhibition of efferocytosis. Our results indicate that CS, via aSMase, releases circulating EMPs with distinct microRNA cargo and that EMPs affect the clearance of apoptotic cells by specialized macrophages. These targetable effects may be important in the pathogenesis of diseases linked to endothelial injury and inflammation in smokers.
Project description:Apoptosis of lung epithelial and endothelial cells by exposure to cigarette smoke (CS) severely damages the lung tissue, leading to the pathogenesis of emphysema, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We have recently established a direct correlation between decreased lipid raft CFTR expression and emphysema progression through increased ceramide accumulation. In the present work, we investigated the role of membrane CFTR in regulating apoptosis and autophagy responses to CS exposure. We report a constitutive and CS-induced increase in the number of TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells in Cftr(-/-) murine lungs compared with Cftr(+/+) murine lungs that also correlated with a concurrent increase in the expression of ceramide, NF-?B, CD95/Fas, lipid raft proteins, and zonula occludens (ZO)-1/2 (P < 0.001). We also verified that stable wild-type CFTR expression in CFBE41o(-) cells controls constitutively elevated caspase-3/7 activity (-1.6-fold, P < 0.001). Our data suggest that membrane CFTR regulates ceramide-enriched lipid raft signaling platforms required for the induction of Fas-mediated apoptotic signaling. In addition, lack of membrane CFTR also modulates autophagy, as demonstrated by the significant increase in constitutive (P < 0.001) and CSE-induced (P < 0.005) perinuclear accumulation of green fluorescent protein-microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain-3 (LC3) in the absence of membrane CFTR (CFBE41o(-) cells). The significant constitutive and CS-induced increase (P < 0.05) in p62 and LC3? expression in CFTR-deficient cells and mice corroborates these findings and suggest a defective autophagy response in the absence of membrane CFTR. Our data demonstrate the critical role of membrane-localized CFTR in regulating apoptotic and autophagic responses in CS-induced lung injury that may be involved in the pathogenesis of severe emphysema.
Project description:Regulatory T (Treg) cell responses and apoptotic cell clearance (efferocytosis) represent critical arms of the inflammation resolution response. We sought to determine whether these processes might be linked through Treg-cell-mediated enhancement of efferocytosis. In zymosan-induced peritonitis and lipopolysaccharide-induced lung injury, Treg cells increased early in resolution, and Treg cell depletion decreased efferocytosis. In advanced atherosclerosis, where defective efferocytosis drives disease progression, Treg cell expansion improved efferocytosis. Mechanistic studies revealed the following sequence: (1) Treg cells secreted interleukin-13 (IL-13), which stimulated IL-10 production in macrophages; (2) autocrine-paracrine signaling by IL-10 induced Vav1 in macrophages; and (3) Vav1 activated Rac1 to promote apoptotic cell engulfment. In summary, Treg cells promote macrophage efferocytosis during inflammation resolution via a transcellular signaling pathway that enhances apoptotic cell internalization. These findings suggest an expanded role of Treg cells in inflammation resolution and provide a mechanistic basis for Treg-cell-enhancement strategies for non-resolving inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Macrophage apoptosis and efferocytosis are key determinants of atherosclerotic plaque inflammation and necrosis. Bone marrow transplantation studies in ApoE- and LDLR-deficient mice revealed that hematopoietic scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) deficiency results in severely defective efferocytosis in mouse atherosclerotic lesions, resulting in a 17-fold higher ratio of free to macrophage-associated dead cells in lesions containing SR-BI(-/-) cells, 5-fold more necrosis, 65.2% less lesional collagen content, nearly 7-fold higher dead cell accumulation, and 2-fold larger lesion area. Hematopoietic SR-BI deletion elicited a maladaptive inflammatory response [higher interleukin (IL)-1?, IL-6, and TNF-? lower IL-10 and transforming growth factor ?]. Efferocytosis of apoptotic thymocytes was reduced by 64% in SR-BI(-/-) versus WT macrophages, both in vitro and in vivo. In response to apoptotic cells, macrophage SR-BI bound with phosphatidylserine and induced Src phosphorylation and cell membrane recruitment, which led to downstream activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) for engulfment and clearance of apoptotic cells, as inhibition of Src decreased PI3K, Rac1-GTP, and efferocytosis in WT cells. Pharmacological inhibition of Rac1 reduced macrophage efferocytosis in a SR-BI-dependent fashion, and activation of Rac1 corrected the defective efferocytosis in SR-BI(-/-) macrophages. Thus, deficiency of macrophage SR-BI promotes defective efferocytosis signaling via the Src/PI3K/Rac1 pathway, resulting in increased plaque size, necrosis, and inflammation.
Project description:Cigarette smoking (CS), the main risk factor for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in developed countries, decreases alveolar macrophages (AM) clearance of both apoptotic cells and bacterial pathogens. This global deficit of AM engulfment may explain why active smokers have worse outcomes of COPD exacerbations, episodes characterized by airway infection and inflammation that carry high morbidity and healthcare cost. When administered as intravenous supplementation, the acute phase-reactant alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) reduces the severity of COPD exacerbations in A1AT deficient (AATD) individuals and of bacterial pneumonia in murine models, but the effect of A1AT on AM scavenging functions has not been reported. Apoptotic cell clearance (efferocytosis) was measured in human AM isolated from patients with COPD, in primary rat AM or differentiated monocytes exposed to CS ex vivo, and in AM recovered from mice exposed to CS. A1AT (100 ?g/mL, 16 h) significantly ameliorated efferocytosis (by ~50%) in AM of active smokers or AM exposed ex vivo to CS. A1AT significantly improved AM global engulfment, including phagocytosis, even when cells were simultaneously challenged with apoptotic and Fc-coated (bacteria-like) targets. The improved efferocytosis in A1AT-treated macrophages was associated with inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-? converting enzyme (TACE) activity, decreased mannose receptor shedding, and markedly increased abundance of efferocytosis receptors (mannose- and phosphatidyl serine receptors and the scavenger receptor B2) on AM plasma membrane. Directed airway A1AT treatment (via inhalation of a nebulized solution) restored in situ airway AM efferocytosis after CS exposure in mice. The amelioration of CS-exposed AM global engulfment may render A1AT as a potential therapy for COPD exacerbations.