Mechanical ventilation, a lifesaving intervention for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), also unfortunately contributes to excessive mechanical stress and impaired lung physiological and structural integrity. We have elsewhere established the pivotal role of increased nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) transcription and secretion as well as its direct binding to the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the progression of this devastating syndrome; however, regulation of this critical gene in ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) is not well characterized. On the basis of an emerging role for epigenetics in enrichment of VILI and CpG sites within the NAMPT promoter and 5'UTR, we hypothesized that NAMPT expression and downstream transcriptional events are influenced by epigenetic mechanisms. Concomitantly, excessive mechanical stress of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment led to both reduced DNA methylation levels in the NAMPT promoter and increased gene transcription. Histone deacetylase inhibition by trichostatin A or Sirt-1-silencing RNA attenuates LPS-induced NAMPT expression. Furthermore, recombinant NAMPT administration induced TLR4-dependent global H3K9 hypoacetylation. These studies suggest a complex epigenetic regulatory network of NAMPT in VILI and ARDS and open novel strategies for combating VILI and ARDS.
Mechanical ventilation is a life-saving intervention in critically ill patients with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Paradoxically, mechanical ventilation also creates excessive mechanical stress that directly augments lung injury, a syndrome known as ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). The pathobiology of VILI and ARDS shares many inflammatory features including increases in lung vascular permeability due to loss of endothelial cell barrier integrity resulting in alveolar flooding. While there have been advances in the understanding of certain elements of VILI and ARDS pathobiology, such as defining the importance of lung inflammatory leukocyte infiltration and highly induced cytokine expression, a deep understanding of the initiating and regulatory pathways involved in these inflammatory responses remains poorly understood. Prevailing evidence indicates that loss of endothelial barrier function plays a primary role in the development of VILI and ARDS. Thus this review will focus on the latest knowledge related to 1) the key role of the endothelium in the pathogenesis of VILI; 2) the transcription factors that relay the effects of excessive mechanical stress in the endothelium; 3) the mechanical stress-induced posttranslational modifications that influence key signaling pathways involved in VILI responses in the endothelium; 4) the genetic and epigenetic regulation of key target genes in the endothelium that are involved in VILI responses; and 5) the need for novel therapeutic strategies for VILI that can preserve endothelial barrier function.