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DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-69735-z; PMCID: PMC7403357


Systemic sepsis is a known risk factor for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in premature infants, a disease characterized by dysregulated angiogenesis and impaired vascular and alveolar development. We have previoulsy reported that systemic endotoxin dysregulates pulmonary angiogenesis resulting in alveolar simplification mimicking BPD in neonatal mice, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We undertook an unbiased discovery approach to identify novel signaling pathways programming sepsis-induced deviant lung angiogenesis. Pulmonary endothelial cells (EC) were isolated for RNA-Seq from newborn C57BL/6 mice treated with intraperitoneal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to mimic systemic sepsis. LPS significantly differentially-regulated 269 genes after 6 h, and 1,934 genes after 24 h. Using bioinformatics, we linked 6 h genes previously unknown to be modulated by LPS to 24 h genes known to regulate angiogenesis/vasculogenesis to identify pathways programming deviant angiogenesis. An immortalized primary human lung EC (HPMEC-im) line was generated by SV40 transduction to facilitate mechanistic studies. RT-PCR and transcription factor binding analysis identified FOSL1 (FOS like 1) as a transcriptional regulator of LPS-induced downstream angiogenic or vasculogenic genes. Over-expression and silencing studies of FOSL1 in immortalized and primary HPMEC demonstrated that baseline and LPS-induced expression of ADAM8, CXCR2, HPX, LRG1, PROK2, and RNF213 was regulated by FOSL1. FOSL1 silencing impaired LPS-induced in vitro HPMEC angiogenesis. In conclusion, we identified FOSL1 as a novel regulator of sepsis-induced deviant angiogenic signaling in mouse lung EC and human fetal HPMEC.

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