The effect of doxycycline on shedding of the glycocalyx due to reactive oxygen species

Herbert H. Lipowsky, Anne Lescanic

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50 Scopus citations


The structure and composition of the endothelial cell (EC) glycocalyx reflect a balance of the biosynthesis of glycans and their shear dependent removal. Shedding of glycans from the EC surface has been shown to occur in response to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory mediators. Using sub-antimicrobial doses of doxycycline, a broad spectrum matrix metalloprotease (MMP) inhibitor, inhibition of chemoattractant induced glycan shedding has suggested that MMPs may be a major effector of the loss of glycans. However, it has also been reported that doxycycline is a scavenger of ROS that may also activate MMPs. To clarify the basis for doxycycline as an inhibitor of glycan shedding, the present studies were undertaken to determine its effect on ROS induced shedding in post-capillary venules of the exteriorized mesentery of the rat. To this end, hypoxanthine (HX) and xanthine oxidase (XO) were rapidly mixed on the mesenteric surface for a 2min period to generate superoxide anion (O2-·) and the time course of glycan shedding was monitored in post-capillary venules over a 30min period. Glycan shedding was quantitated by loss of adherent fluorescently labeled lectin coated microspheres (FLMs, 0.1μm diameter) that were systemically infused. It was found that HX/XO caused FLM adhesion to decrease 45% within 30min. This effect could be inhibited in a dose dependent manner by the addition of superoxide dismutase to the superfusion solution, thus confirming the role of O2-·. In contrast, 0.5μM doxycycline had no effect on FLM shedding in response to HX/XO, contrary to its ability to attenuate shedding in response to the chemoattractant fMLP. Thus it is suggested that the efficacy of doxycycline as an inhibitor of glycan shedding during inflammation arises from its ability to inhibit MMP activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalMicrovascular Research
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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