Gelsolin is a highly conserved intracellular actin-binding protein with an extracellular isoform named plasma gelsolin (pGSN). Relatively high (250 mg /L) blood concentrations of pGSN decrease in response to trauma, major surgery, sepsis, burns, ionizing radiation, and hyperoxia. Depletion of pGSN to a critical (~20%) level precedes and predicts complications of primary injuries such as lung permeability changes, ARDS, assisted ventilation and death. Administration of recombinant pGSN ameliorates such complications and reduces mortality in animal models. A proposed mechanism for pGSN’s protective effects is that it inhibits inflammatory mediators generated during primary injuries, since pGSN binds bioactive mediators, including lysophospatidic acid (LPA) and endotoxin in vitro. Because of its structural similarity we hypothesized that plasma gelsolin binds also to the potent lipid mediator platelet activating factor (PAF) and report here on the inhibition of PAF-induced cellular activation. Recombinant pGSN inhibited PAF-induced P-selectin up-regulation by human platelets as measured by flow cytometry. A ten- to 40-fold molar excess (0.5–20 μM) of pGSN over PAF inhibits P-selectin expression by 40 to 80%. The concentrations of plasma gelsolin used approximate the ~2–3 μM concentrations in plasma, and the molar excess of pGSN over PAF is probably greater in biological systems, where PAF has nanomolar affinity for its receptor. pGSN also inhibited PAF-induced superoxide anion (O2-) production (measured by chemiluminescence) of human neutrophils (PMN) in a concentration-dependent manner. The inhibition was up to 80% at a concentration of 10 μM (tenfold molar excess over PAF). A phospholipid-binding peptide derived from pGSN (QRLFQVKGRR) also inhibited PAF-mediated O2- generation by PMN. The inhibition was 65% at a 1:1 molar ratio (1 μM). In conclusion pGSN interferes with PAF-induced cellular activation in vitro, suggesting a mechanism for the protective role of plasma gelsolin that has been observed in vivo.

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