Lipopolysaccharide reduces electrical coupling in microvascular endothelial cells by targeting connexin40 in a tyrosine-, ERK1/2-, PKA-, and PKC-dependent manner

Michael L. Bolon, Gerald M. Kidder, Alexander M. Simon, Karel Tyml

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Electrical coupling along the endothelium is central in the arteriolar conducted response and in control of vascular resistance. It has been shown that exposure of endothelium to lipopolysaccharide (LPS, an initiating factor in sepsis) reduces intercellular communication in vitro and in vivo. The molecular basis for this reduction is not known. We examined the effect of LPS on electrical coupling in monolayers of cultured mouse microvascular endothelial cells (MMEC) derived from the mouse hindlimb skeletal muscle. To assess coupling, we measured the spread of electrical current injected into the monolayer and computed the monolayer intercellular resistance (inverse measure of coupling). LPS (10 μg/ml, 1 h) reduced coupling (i.e., increased resistance) in MMEC isolated from wild-type, connexin37 (Cx37) null and Cx43G60S (nonfunctional mutant) mice, but not in MMEC derived from Cx40 null mice. LPS also activated JNK1/2, p38 and ERK1/2 MAP kinases. Pretreatment of WT monolayers with ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 (20 μM, 1 h) prevented the LPS-induced decrease in coupling, while inhibition of JNK1/2 with SP600125 (20 μM, 1 h) and p38 with a p38 inhibitor (10 nM, 1 h) had no effect. Furthermore, inhibition of tyrosine kinases with PP-2 (10 nM, 1 h), activation of PKA by 8-bromo-cAMP (1 mM, 5 min), and activation of PKC by bryostatin-2 (10 nM, 1 h) also prevented the reduction in coupling. We propose that LPS reduces inter-endothelial electrical coupling via tyrosine-, ERK1/2-, PKA-, and PKC-dependent signaling that targets Cx40. We suggest that this mechanism contributes to compromised arteriolar function following LPS exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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