SEMA3A protects against hyperoxia-induced lung injury in a bronchopulmonary dysplasia model of newborn rat by inhibiting ERK pathway

Main Article Content

Zhenyu Liang
Xiao Zhang
Yingxian Liu
Qianmei Wu
Chuming You


apoptosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, ERK/JNK, hyperoxia, inflammation, lung injury, SEMA3A


Background Hyperoxia induces lung injury through lung inflammation in premature infants, leading to bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) participates in diverse biological processes, including cell migration, angiogenesis, and inflammation. The effect of SEMA3A on hyperoxic lung injury of neonatal rats with BPD was investigated in this study.

Methods Neonatal rats with BPD were established through hyperoxia treatment. Hematoxylin-eosin staining was used to evaluate histopathological analysis in lung tissues. SEMA3A expression was assessed by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and western blot assay. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated over-expression of SEMA3A (AAV-SEMA3A) was administrated into hyperoxia-induced rats, and apoptosis was evaluated by TUNEL staining. Levels of inflammatory cytokines were investigated by enzyme-linked-immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA).

Results Hyperoxia-induced histopathological changes in lung tissue reduced alveolar number and enhanced alveolar interval and alveolar volume. SEMA3A was downregulated in lung tissue of hyperoxia-induced rats. AAV-SEMA3A injection attenuated hyperoxia-induced cell apoptosis in lung tissues by increasing Bcl-2 and decreasing Bax and cleaved caspase-3. Moreover, the enhanced levels of Interleukin (IL)-1β, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in hyperoxia-induced rats were restored by AAV-SEMA3A injection by the downregulation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) phosphorylation. AAV-SEMA3A injection also ameliorated histopathological changes in lung tissues of hyperoxia-induced rats by increasing the number of radial alveolar count and decreasing the volume of mean linear intercept. Besides, the protein expression levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation were reduced in hyperoxia-induced rats post-AAV-SEMA3A injection.

Conclusion Ectopical expression of SEMA3A suppressed hyperoxia-induced apoptosis and inflammation in neonatal rats, and ameliorated the histopathological changes through inactivation of ERK/JNK pathway.

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