No targeted therapies exist to counteract Hyperoxia (HO)-induced Acute Lung Injury (HALI). We previously found that HO downregulates alveolar K2P2.1 (TREK-1) K+ channels, which results in worsening lung injury. This decrease in TREK-1 levels leaves a subset of channels amendable to pharmacological intervention. Therefore, we hypothesized that TREK-1 activation protects against HALI. We treated HO-exposed mice and primary alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) with the novel TREK-1 activators ML335 and BL1249, and quantified physiological, histological, and biochemical lung injury markers. We determined the effects of these drugs on epithelial TREK-1 currents, plasma membrane potential (Em), and intracellular Ca2+ (iCa) concentrations using fluorometric assays, and blocked voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (CaV) as a downstream mechanism of cytokine secretion. Once-daily, intra-tracheal injections of HO-exposed mice with ML335 or BL1249 improved lung compliance, histological lung injury scores, broncho-alveolar lavage protein levels and cell counts, and IL-6 and IP-10 concentrations. TREK-1 activation also decreased IL-6, IP-10, and CCL-2 secretion from primary AECs. Mechanistically, ML335 and BL1249 induced TREK-1 currents in AECs, counteracted HO-induced cell depolarization, and lowered iCa2+ concentrations. In addition, CCL-2 secretion was decreased after L-type CaV inhibition. Therefore, Em stabilization with TREK-1 activators may represent a novel approach to counteract HALI.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 10, issue 1, article no. 22011.

© The Author(s) 2020

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Funding Information

This study was supported by the following Grants: NIH HL118118-3 (AS); NIH HL131526 (CMW); NIH HL134346 (RO).

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