Background: Pancreatic digestive enzymes present in meconium might be responsible for meconium-induced lung injury. The local Renin Angiotensin System plays an important role in lung injury and inflammation. Particularly, angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) has been identified as a protective lung enzyme against the insult. ACE-2 converts pro-apoptotic Angiotensin II to anti-apoptotic Angiotensin 1–7. However, the effect of meconium on ACE-2 has never been studied before. Objective: To study the effect of meconium on ACE-2, and whether inhibition of proteolytic enzymes present in the meconium reverses its effects on ACE-2. Methods: Alveolar epithelial A549 cells were exposed to F-12 medium, 2.5% meconium, meconium + a protease inhibitor cocktail (PIc) and PIc alone for 16 h. At the end of incubation, apoptosis was measured with a nuclear fragmentation assay and cell lysates were collected for ACE-2 immunoblotting and enzyme activity. Results: Meconium caused a fourfold increase in apoptotic nuclei (p < 0.001). The pro-apoptotic effect of meconium can be reversed by PIc. Meconium reduced ACE-2 enzyme activity by cleaving ACE-2 into a fragment detected at ~ 37 kDa by immunoblot. PIc prevented the degradation of ACE-2 and restored 50% of ACE-2 activity (p < 0.05). Conclusion: These data suggest that meconium causes degradation of lung protective ACE-2 by proteolytic enzymes present in meconium, since the effects of meconium can be reversed by PIc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine