Critical role for integrin-β4 in the attenuation of murine acute lung injury by simvastatin

Weiguo Chen, Saad Sammani, Sumegha Mitra, Shwu Fan Ma, Joe G.N. Garcia, Jeffrey R. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The statins are a class of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A-reductase inhibitors that are recognized to have pleiotropic properties. We previously reported the attenuation of LPS-induced murine acute lung injury (ALI) by simvastatin in vivo and identified relevant effects of simvastatin on endothelial cell (EC) signaling, activation, and barrier function in vitro. In particular, simvastatin induces the upregulation of integrin-β4, which in turn inhibits EC inflammatory responses via attenuation of MAPK signaling. The role of integrin-β4 in murine ALI protection by simvastatin, however, is unknown. We initially confirmed a time- and dose-dependent effect of simvastatin on increased integrin-β4 mRNA expression in human lung EC with peak protein expression evident at 16 h. Subsequently, reciprocal immunoprecipitation demonstrated an attenuation of LPS-induced integrin-β4 tyrosine phosphorylation by simvastatin (5 μM, 16 h). Increased expression of EC inflammatory cytokines [IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES)] by LPS (500 ng/ml, 4 h) was also significantly attenuated by simvastatin pretreatment (5 μM, 16 h), but this effect was reversed by cotreatment with an integrin-β4-blocking antibody. Finally, although simvastatin (20 mg/kg) conferred significant protection in murine ALI as evidenced by decreased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cell counts, protein, inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-1β, MCP-1, RANTES), decreased Evans blue dye albumin extravasation in lung tissue, and changes on lung histology, these effects were reversed by the integrin-β4-blocking antibody (IV, 1 mg/kg, 2 h before LPS). These findings support integrin-β4 as an important mediator of ALI protection by simvastatin and implicate signaling by integrin-β4 as a novel therapeutic target in patients with ALI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L279-L285
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2012


  • Endothelial cells
  • Integrins
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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