Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 324, Issue 2, pp 243–253 | Cite as

Effect of estradiol and dihydrotestosterone on hypergravity-induced MAPK signaling and occludin expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells

  • Wasana K. Sumanasekera
  • Lei Zhao
  • Margarita Ivanova
  • Dwight D. Morgan
  • Edouard L. Noisin
  • Robert S. Keynton
  • Carolyn M. KlingeEmail author
Regular Article


Female astronauts have been reported to have a higher incidence of post-flight orthostatic intolerance (POI) compared with that of their male counterparts. POI may result from increased permeability of the endothelial cell (EC) layer in the vasculature. The goal of this study has been to determine whether estradiol (E2) and dihydrotesterone (DHT) alter human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) responses to short term (10 min) hypergravity (1–3 g) mimicking the g force experienced by astronauts during liftoff. E2 and DHT rapidly (within 5 min) activated MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) in HUVEC at 1 g in a receptor-dependent manner. Liftoff inhibited MAPK phosphorylation, and rapid E2 and DHT activation of MAPK was blocked. Liftoff simulation or brief (5–90 min) treatment with E2 or DHT at 1 g had no effect on the expression of the EC tight-junction protein occludin. However, 24-h pre-treatment of HUVECs with E2 and DHT prior to liftoff simulation significantly increased occludin expression, and hypergravity exposure did not alter this increase. These data provide evidence for a possible protective effect of E2 and DHT on EC function as indicated by increased occludin; this may help maintain the integrity of EC tight junction and could thus retard or reduce the incidence of POI.


Mitogen-activated protein kinase Occludin Estradiol Dihydrotestosterone Tight junctions Post-sxpace-flight orthostatic intolerance Human Umbilical vein endothelial cells 



We thank Darren M. Brey for performing some of the initial experiments in this project. We thank AstraZeneca for providing bicalutamide (Casodex) for our study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wasana K. Sumanasekera
    • 1
  • Lei Zhao
    • 1
  • Margarita Ivanova
    • 1
  • Dwight D. Morgan
    • 3
  • Edouard L. Noisin
    • 1
  • Robert S. Keynton
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carolyn M. Klinge
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and the Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Bioengineering, Speed School of EngineeringUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Speed School of EngineeringUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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