Fibronectin inhibitor pUR4 attenuates tumor necrosis factor α-induced endothelial hyperpermeability by modulating β1 integrin activation

Ting Hein Lee, Sung Tsang Hsieh, Hou Yu Chiang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) is composed of a monolayer of endothelium linked with tight junctions and extracellular matrix (ECM)-rich basement membranes and is surrounded by astrocyte foot processes. Endothelial permeability is regulated by interaction between endothelial cells and ECM proteins. Fibronectin (FN) is a principal ECM component of microvessels. Excessive FN deposition disrupts cell-cell adhesion in fibroblasts through β1 integrin ligation. To determine whether excessive FN deposition contributes to the disruption of endothelial integrity, we used an in vitro model of the endothelial monolayer to investigate whether the FN inhibitor pUR4 prevents FN deposition into the subendothelial matrix and attenuates endothelial leakage. Methods: To correlate the effects of excessive FN accumulation in microvessels on BSCB disruption, spinal nerve ligation - which induces BSCB leakage - was applied, and FN expression in the spinal cord was evaluated through immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. To elucidate the effects by which pUR4 modulates endothelial permeability, brain-derived endothelial (bEND.3) cells treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were used to mimic a leaky BSCB. A bEND.3 monolayer was preincubated with pUR4 before TNF-α treatment. The transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) measurement and transendothelial permeability assay were applied to assess the endothelial integrity of the bEND.3 monolayer. Immunofluorescence analysis and immunoblotting were performed to evaluate the inhibitory effects of pUR4 on TNF-α-induced FN deposition. To determine the mechanisms underlying pUR4-mediated endothelial permeability, cell morphology, stress fiber formation, myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation, and β1 integrin-mediated signaling were evaluated through immunofluorescence analysis and immunoblotting. Results: Excessive FN was accumulated in the microvessels of the spinal cord after spinal nerve ligation; moreover, pUR4 inhibited TNF-α-induced FN deposition in the bEND.3 monolayer and maintained intact TEER and endothelial permeability. Furthermore, pUR4 reduced cell morphology alteration, actin stress fiber formation, and MLC phosphorylation, thereby attenuating paracellular gap formation. Moreover, pUR4 reduced β1 integrin activation and downstream signaling. Conclusions: pUR4 reduces TNF-α-induced β1 integrin activation by depleting ECM FN, leading to a decrease in endothelial hyperpermeability and maintenance of monolayer integrity. These findings suggest therapeutic benefits of pUR4 in pathological vascular leakage treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 05 2019

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Endothelial permeability
  • Fibronectin
  • Stress fiber
  • β1 integrin


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