Pro-inflammatory mediators such as TNF-α induce caspase activation in endothelial cells, which leads to degradation of cellular proteins, induction of apoptotic signaling, and endothelial cell dysfunction. New therapeutic agents that can inhibit caspase activation may provide protection against inflammatory injury to endothelial cells. In the present study, we examined the effects of selective histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) inhibition on TNF-α induced caspase 3 activation and cell-cell junction dysfunction in lung endothelial cells. We also assessed the protective effects of HDAC6 inhibition against lung inflammatory injury in a mouse model of endotoxemia. We demonstrated that selective HDAC6 inhibition or knockdown of HDAC6 expression was able to prevent caspase 3 activation in lung endothelial cells and maintain lung endothelial cell-cell junctions. Mice pre-treated with HDAC6 inhibitors exhibited decreased endotoxin-induced caspase 3 activation and reduced lung vascular injury as indicated by the retention of cell-cell junction protein VE-Cadherin level and alleviated lung edema. Collectively, our data suggest that HDAC6 inhibition is a potent therapeutic strategy against inflammatory injury to endothelial cells.

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Published in Oncotarget, v. 7, no. 34, p. 54714-54722.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Jinyan Yu is a recipient of the State Scholarship from China Scholarship Council.