Mkrtchian S, Kåhlin J, Gómez-Galán M, Ebberyd A, Yoshitake T, Schmidt S, Kehr J, Hildenborg M, Jonsson Fagerlund M, Erlandsson Harris H, Eriksson LI
Exp. Physiol. 105 (9) 1634-1647 [2020-09-00; online 2020-07-24]
What is the central question of this study? Are carotid bodies (CBs) modulated by the damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and humoral factors of aseptic tissue injury? What are the main findings and their importance? DAMPs (HMGB1, S100 A8/A9) and blood plasma from rats subjected to tibia surgery, a model of aseptic injury, stimulate the release of neurotransmitters (ATP, dopamine) and TNF-α from ex vivo rat CBs. All-thiol HMGB1 mediates upregulation of immune-related biological pathways. These data suggest regulation of CB function by endogenous mediators of innate immunity. The glomus cells of carotid bodies (CBs) are the primary sensors of arterial partial O2 and CO2 tensions and moreover serve as multimodal receptors responding also to other stimuli, such as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) produced by acute infection. Modulation of CB function by excessive amounts of these immunomodulators is suggested to be associated with a detrimental hyperinflammatory state. We have hypothesized that yet another class of immunomodulators, endogenous danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), released upon aseptic tissue injury and recognized by the same pathogen recognition receptors as PAMPs, might modulate the CB activity in a fashion similar to PAMPs. We have tested this hypothesis by exposing rat CBs to various DAMPs, such as HMGB1 (all-thiol and disulfide forms) and S100 A8/A9 in a series of ex vivo experiments that demonstrated the release of dopamine and ATP, neurotransmitters known to mediate CB homeostatic responses. We observed a similar response after incubating CBs with conditioned blood plasma obtained from the rats subjected to tibia surgery, a model of aseptic injury. In addition, we have investigated global gene expression in the rat CB using an RNA sequencing approach. Differential gene expression analysis showed all-thiol HMGB1-driven upregulation of a number of prominent pro-inflammatory markers including Il1α and Il1β. Interestingly, conditioned plasma had a more profound effect on the CB transcriptome resulting in inhibition rather than activation of the immune-related pathways. These data are the first to suggest potential modulation of CB function by endogenous mediators of innate immunity.