Prolonged treatment with a large dose of propofol may cause diffuse cellular cytotoxicity; however, the detailed underlying mechanism remains unclear, particularly in vascular endothelial cells. Previous studies showed that a propofol overdose induces endothelial injury and vascular barrier dysfunction. Regarding the important role of endothelial glycocalyx on the maintenance of vascular barrier integrity, we therefore hypothesized that a propofol overdose-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction is caused by impaired endothelial glycocalyx. In vivo, we intraperitoneally injected ICR mice with overdosed propofol, and the results showed that a propofol overdose significantly induced systemic vascular hyperpermeability and reduced the expression of endothelial glycocalyx, syndecan-1, syndecan-4, perlecan mRNA and heparan sulfate (HS) in the vessels of multiple organs. In vitro, a propofol overdose reduced the expression of syndecan-1, syndecan-4, perlecan, glypican-1 mRNA and HS and induced significant decreases in the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)/NADH ratio and ATP concentrations in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). Oligomycin treatment also induced significant decreases in the NAD+/NADH ratio, in ATP concentrations and in syndecan-4, perlecan and glypican-1 mRNA expression in HMEC-1 cells. These results demonstrate that a propofol overdose induces a partially ATP-dependent reduction of endothelial glycocalyx expression and consequently leads to vascular hyperpermeability due to the loss of endothelial barrier functions.
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