Extracellular adenosine enhances pulmonary artery vasa vasorum endothelial cell barrier function via Gi/ELMO1/Rac1/PKA-dependent signaling mechanisms

Alexander D. Verin, Robert Batori, Anita Kovacs-Kasa, Mary Cherian-Shaw, Sanjiv Kumar, Istvan Czikora, Vijaya Karoor, Derek Strassheim, Kurt R. Stenmark, Evgenia V. Gerasimovskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The vasa vasorum (VV), the microvascular network around large vessels, has been recognized as an important contributor to the pathological vascular remodeling in cardiovascular diseases. In bovine and rat models of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH), we have previously shown that chronic hypoxia profoundly increased pulmonary artery (PA) VV permeability, associated with infiltration of inflammatory and progenitor cells in the arterial wall, perivascular inflammation, and structural vascular remodeling. Extracellular adenosine was shown to exhibit a barrier-protective effect on VV endothelial cells (VVEC) via cAMP-independent mechanisms, which involved adenosine A1 receptor-mediated activation of Giphosphoinositide 3-kinase-Akt pathway and actin cytoskeleton remodeling. Using VVEC isolated from the adventitia of calf PA, in this study we investigated in more detail the mechanisms linking Gi activation to downstream barrier protection pathways. Using a small-interference RNA (siRNA) technique and transendothelial electrical resistance assay, we found that the adaptor protein, engulfment and cell motility 1 (ELMO1), the tyrosine phosphatase Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-2, and atypical Gi- and Rac1-mediated protein kinase A activation are implicated in VVEC barrier enhancement. In contrast, the actin-interacting GTP-binding protein, girdin, and the p21-activated kinase 1 downstream target, LIM kinase, are not involved in this response. In addition, adenosine-dependent cytoskeletal rearrangement involves activation of cofilin and inactivation of ezrin-radixin-moesin regulatory cytoskeletal proteins, consistent with a barrier-protective mechanism. Collectively, our data indicate that targeting adenosine receptors and downstream barrier-protective pathways in VVEC may have a potential translational significance in developing pharmacological approach for the VV barrier protection in PH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C183-C193
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Adenosine
  • Endothelial barrier
  • Gi
  • Rac1
  • Vasa vasorum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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