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Fürst, Robert; Bubik, Martin F.; Bihari, Peter; Mayer, Bettina A.; Khandoga, Alexander G.; Hoffmann, Florian; Rehberg, Markus; Krombach, Fritz; Zahler, Stefan; Vollmar, Angelika M. (August 2008): Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Protects against Histamine-Induced Endothelial Barrier Dysfunction in Vivo. In: Molecular pharmacology, Vol. 74, No. 1


Endothelial barrier dysfunction is a hallmark of many severe pathologies, including sepsis or atherosclerosis. The cardiovascular hormone atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) has increasingly been suggested to counteract endothelial leakage. Surprisingly, the precise in vivo relevance of these observations has never been evaluated. Thus, we aimed to clarify this issue and, moreover, to identify the permeability-controlling subcellular systems that are targeted by ANP. Histamine was used as important pro-inflammatory, permeability-increasing stimulus. Measurements of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran extravasation from venules of the mouse cremaster muscle and rat hematocrit values were performed to judge changes of endothelial permeability in vivo. It is noteworthy that ANP strongly reduced the histamine-evoked endothelial barrier dysfunction in vivo. In vitro, ANP blocked the breakdown of transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) induced by histamine. Moreover, as judged by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis, ANP inhibited changes of vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, β-catenin, and p120ctn morphology; VE-cadherin and myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) phosphorylation; and F-actin stress fiber formation. These changes seem to be predominantly mediated by the natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-A, but not by NPR-C. In summary, we revealed ANP as a potent endothelial barrier protecting agent in vivo and identified adherens junctions and the contractile apparatus as subcellular systems targeted by ANP. Thus, our study highlights ANP as an interesting pharmacological compound opening new therapeutic options for preventing endothelial leakage.