Development of effective therapies for treatment of acute lung injury (ALI) and adult respiratory distress syndrome remains a challenging task. Relatively low efficiency of existing pharmacological therapies may be due to differences between pre-treatment models used in experimental studies and treatment of ongoing condition in clinical scenarios. It is very possible that pre- and post-treatment models target distinct molecular pathways activated during onset, peak and resolution phases of ALI. Our pioneering studies during the previous cycle characterized barrier-protective properties of oxidized phospholipids (OxPLs). We have described molecular mechanisms of endothelial barrier enhancement and protection during OxPL co-treatment in septic (LPS) and aseptic (Thrombin, IL-6, pathologic mechanical ventilation) models of ALI. We identified key roles of small GTPases Rap1, Rac, Cdc42 and Rap/Rac-Rho crosstalk mechanism in OxPL-dependent control of cytoskeleton, cell-cell junctions and endothelial barrier. Pilot studies for this application reveaed unique protective effects of OxPL post-treatment still achieved after 16 hrs of inflammatory insult. Preliminary data show OxPL-dependent induction of lipoxin, a lipid mediator shown to downregulate existing inflammation and promote resolution. Our pilot studies also suggest involvement of prostanoid family receptor EP4 and cell membrane-associated OxPL-interacting protein GRP78, recently described by our group, in anti- inflammatory effects and restoration of endothelial barrier properties and lung function induced by OxPL post- treatment in the mouse model of ALI caused by Gram-positive pathogens.
Aim -1 will test the hypothesis that beneficial effects of OxPL post-treatment in the Staphylococcus aureus model of lung injury involve OxPL- induced lipoxin induction leading to suppression of inflammation and improved ALI recovery.
Aim -2 will test the hypothesis that lipoxin pathway is initiated by OxPL-induced activation of GRP78-EP4 signaling complex in the caveolin enriched microdomains (CEM). This proposal will further explore therapeutic potential of OxPL post-treatment, and Aim-3 will test effects of a group of synthetic cleavage-resistant phospholipid compounds generated in our group as prototypes for future treatments. The results of this project will uncover novel, previously unexpected mechanisms accelerating ALI recovery by oxidized phospholipids and may lead to discovery of a new group of pharmacological molecules for the treatment of ALI, ARDS, and other diseases associated with increased vascular leakage and inflammation.

Public Health Relevance

Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, however development of effective therapies for ALI/ARDS treatment represents major a challenge. This study will characterize barrier protective and anti-inflammatory effects of novel group of synthetic phospholipids generated in our group and investigate molecular mechanisms of their effects towards protection against pulmonary vascular endothelial dysfunction and promotion of resolution of acute lung injury. These studies will expand our knowledge about molecular mechanisms leading to ALI resolution and may lead to discovery of a new group of pharmacological molecules for the treatment of VILI, ARDS, and other diseases associated with increased vascular leakage and inflammation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Respiratory Integrative Biology and Translational Research Study Section (RIBT)
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Harabin, Andrea L
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University of Chicago
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Birukova, Anna A; Singleton, Patrick A; Gawlak, Grzegorz et al. (2014) GRP78 is a novel receptor initiating a vascular barrier protective response to oxidized phospholipids. Mol Biol Cell 25:2006-16
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Birukova, Anna A; Tian, Xinyong; Tian, Yufeng et al. (2013) Rap-afadin axis in control of Rho signaling and endothelial barrier recovery. Mol Biol Cell 24:2678-88
Heffern, Charles T R; Pocivavsek, Luka; Birukova, Anna A et al. (2013) Thermodynamic and kinetic investigations of the release of oxidized phospholipids from lipid membranes and its effect on vascular integrity. Chem Phys Lipids 175-176:9-19
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Dubrovskyi, Oleksii; Birukova, Anna A; Birukov, Konstantin G (2013) Measurement of local permeability at subcellular level in cell models of agonist- and ventilator-induced lung injury. Lab Invest 93:254-63

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