The binding of beta2 (CD18) integrins on PMN cell membrane to intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM) counter-receptors on the surface of vascular endothelial cells mediates PMN adhesion to endothelial cells. Neutrophil inhibitory factor (NIF), a 41-kD glycoprotein isolated from the canine hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum), is a beta2 integrin antagonist that inhibits PMN adhesion to endothelial cells. We transferred the NIF gene into CD1 mouse lungs by intravenous injection of cationic liposomes to study the effects of in vivo NIF expression on LPS-induced lung PMN sequestration and the development of lung injury. RT-PCR and Northern blot analysis indicated the lung-selective expression of the NIF transgene, and immunocytochemistry showed prominent NIF expression in pulmonary microvessel endothelial cells. NIF staining was also observed in intraluminal leukocytes present in pulmonary microvessels. This may be the result of NIF binding to leukocytes after its secretion from the transduced lung cells, since there was no evidence of NIF gene expression in circulating leukocytes. Pulmonary vascular NIF expression abrogated the lung tissue PMN uptake and airspace migration of PMN and prevented lung vascular injury (as measured by the lung tissue uptake of [125I]labeled albumin) after the intraperitoneal LPS challenge (200 microg/mouse). Expression of a control protein, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT), by the same strategy, had no effect on these responses. In vitro studies showed that NIF prevented mouse PMN adhesion consistent with the inhibition of lung uptake after LPS challenge in NIF transgene-expressing mice. We conclude that pulmonary vascular expression of NIF, a specific beta2 integrin- binding protein, is a potentially useful gene transfer strategy in modulating the infiltration of PMN across the alveolar-capillary epithelial barrier and in preventing lung vascular endothelial injury.


M Y Zhou, S K Lo, M Bergenfeldt, C Tiruppathi, A Jaffe, N Xu, A B Malik


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