Lung epithelial and endothelial cell death accompanied by inflammation contributes to hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury (ALI). Impaired resolution of ALI can promote and/or perpetuate lung pathogenesis, including fibrosis. Previously, we have shown that the transcription factor Nrf2 induces cytoprotective gene expression and confers protection against hyperoxic lung injury, and that Nrf2-mediated signaling is also crucial for the restoration of lung homeostasis post-injury. Although we have reported that PI3K/AKT signaling is required for Nrf2 activation in lung epithelial cells, significance of the PI3K/AKT-Nrf2 crosstalk during hyperoxic lung injury and repair remains unclear. Thus, we evaluated this aspect using Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2-/-) and wild-type (Nrf2+/+) mouse models. Here, we show that pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K/AKT signaling increased lung inflammation and alveolar permeability in Nrf2+/+ mice, accompanied by decreased expression of Nrf2-target genes such as Nqo1 and Hmox1. PI3K/AKT inhibition dampened hyperoxia-stimulated Nqo1 and Hmox1 expression in lung epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages. Contrasting with its protective effects, PI3K/AKT inhibition suppressed lung inflammation in Nrf2+/+ mice during post-injury. In Nrf2-/- mice exposed to room-air, PI3K/AKT inhibition caused lung injury and inflammation, but it did not exaggerate hyperoxia-induced ALI. During post-injury, PI3K/AKT inhibition did not augment, but rather attenuated, lung inflammation in Nrf2-/- mice. These results suggest that PI3K/AKT-Nrf2 signaling is required to dampen hyperoxia-induced lung injury and inflammation. Paradoxically, the PI3K/AKT pathway promotes lung inflammation, independent of Nrf2, during post-injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)