The endothelial cytoskeleton is believed to play an important role in the regulation of endothelial permeability. We used botulinum C2 toxin to perturb cellular actin and determined its effect on the permeability of endothelial cell monolayers derived from porcine pulmonary arteries. The substrate for botulinum C2 toxin is nonmuscle monomeric actin which becomes ADP-ribosylated. This modified actin cannot participate in actin polymerization and, in addition, acts as a capping protein. Exposure of endothelial cell monolayers to botulinum C2 toxin resulted in a dose- (3-100 ng/ml) and time-dependent (30-120 min) increase in the hydraulic conductivity and decrease in the selectivity of the cell monolayers. The effects of C2 toxin were accompanied by a time- and dose-dependent increase in ADP-ribosylatin of G-actin. G-Actin content increased and F-actin content decreased time- and dose-dependently in C2 toxin-treated endothelial cells. Phalloidin which stabilizes filamentous actin prevented the effects of botulinum C2 toxin on endothelial permeability. Botulinum C2 toxin induced interendothelial gaps. The effects occurred in the absence of overt cell damage and were not reversible within 2 h. The data suggest that the endothelial microfilament system is important for the regulation of endothelial permeability.
N Suttorp, M Polley, J Seybold, H Schnittler, W Seeger, F Grimminger, K Aktories