Downregulation of protein disulfide isomerase in sepsis and its role in tumor necrosis factor-alpha release

Mian Zhou, Asha Jacob, Natalie Ho, Michael Miksa, Rongqian Wu, Subir R. Maitra, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Introduction: Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is an important factor for the protein modification step in the post-translational event. PDI plays an essential role in cell survival under various stress conditions. It has been reported that PDI can serve as a negative regulator of nuclear factor-kappa-B (NF-κB) and that it can inhibit lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages. Thus, PDI may be an intracellular anti-inflammatory molecule. Although we have previously shown that Kupffer cell-derived proinflammatory cytokines cause liver injury in sepsis, the effect of sepsis on PDI expression as well as the effect of PDI inhibition on cytokine production have not been investigated. We therefore hypothesized that sepsis downregulates PDI expression and that the inhibition of PDI promotes proinflammatory cytokine production. Method: Adult male rats were subjected to sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or endotoxemia (continuous infusion of 1 μg/kg body weight LPS by an osmotic pump) for 20 hours. Hepatic tissues were collected and PDI gene expression was determined. In additional experiments, cells from a macrophage-like cell line, RAW 264.7, were treated with 100 ng/mL LPS for 4 hours and protein expressions were measured. RAW 264.7 cells were also treated with bacitracin, a specific PDI inhibitor, for 24 hours, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) gene and protein expression as well as its release in the cell supernatant were determined. To further confirm the beneficial effect of PDI in sepsis, RAW 264.7 cells were transfected with PDI short interfering RNA (siRNA) and PDI gene expression and TNF-α release were measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. Results: PDI gene expression was significantly decreased by 28% and 69% at 20 hours after CLP or LPS infusion, respectively. LPS also decreased PDI protein expression by 33% in RAW 264.7 cells. Incubation of RAW 264.7 cells with bacitracin significantly increased TNF-α gene expression and TNF-α release as well as its cellular levels in a dose-dependent manner. Transfection of RAW 264.7 cells with PDI siRNA produced an average 36.8% inhibition of the PDI gene expression. This downregulation was correlated with a 3.19-fold increase in TNF-α release into the cell supernatant. Conclusion: Taken together, these results suggest that downregulation of PDI by sepsis significantly increases proinflammatory cytokine production. Thus, prevention of PDI downregulation in sepsis may be a novel approach to attenuate hyperinflammation and to reduce tissue injury under such conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberR100
JournalCritical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 4 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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