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Hyperoxia Reprogrammes Microvascular Endothelial Cell Response to Hypoxia in an Organ-Specific Manner.

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Reiterer, Moritz 
Eakin, Amanda 
Johnson, Randall S 


Organ function relies on microvascular networks to maintain homeostatic equilibrium, which varies widely in different organs and during different physiological challenges. The endothelium role in this critical process can only be evaluated in physiologically relevant contexts. Comparing the responses to oxygen flux in primary murine microvascular EC (MVEC) obtained from brain and lung tissue reveals that supra-physiological oxygen tensions can compromise MVEC viability. Brain MVEC lose mitochondrial activity and undergo significant alterations in electron transport chain (ETC) composition when cultured under standard, non-physiological atmospheric oxygen levels. While glycolytic capacity of both lung and brain MVEC are unchanged by environmental oxygen, the ability to trigger a metabolic shift when oxygen levels drop is greatly compromised following exposure to hyperoxia. This is particularly striking in MVEC from the brain. This work demonstrates that the unique metabolism and function of organ-specific MVEC (1) can be reprogrammed by external oxygen, (2) that this reprogramming can compromise MVEC survival and, importantly, (3) that ex vivo modelling of endothelial function is significantly affected by culture conditions. It further demonstrates that physiological, metabolic and functional studies performed in non-physiological environments do not represent cell function in situ, and this has serious implications in the interpretation of cell-based pre-clinical models.



microvascular endothelium, heterogeneity, hyperoxia, hypoxia, metabolism

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Cancer Research UK (C9685/A23214)