Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Biomedical Sciences

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Valentin Yakubenko

Committee Members

Donald B. Hoover, Meng-yang Zhu, Diego J. Rodriguez Gil, Chuanfu Li


Chronic inflammation is an essential mechanism during the development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The outcome of diseases depends on the balance between the migration and accumulation of macrophages in damaged tissues. Macrophage motility is highly regulated by adhesive receptors, integrins. Namely, intermediate expression of integrin supports macrophage migration, while a high integrin density inhibits it. Our studies are focused on evaluation of the contribution of related integrins αDβ2 and αMβ2 to macrophage migration and development of chronic inflammation.

We found that integrin αDβ2 is upregulated on M1-macrophages in vitro and pro-inflammatory macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions. Interestingly, the expression of ligand-sharing integrin αMβ2 remains unaltered. Using in vitro three-dimensional migration and in vivo tracking of adoptively-transferred fluorescently-labeled macrophages during the resolution of inflammation, we found that robust adhesion of M1-activated macrophages translates to weak 3D migration, which depends on the high expression of αDβ2, since αD-deficiency decreases M1-macrophage adhesion and improves macrophage migration. In contrast, αD- and αM-knockouts decrease M2-macrophages migration, demonstrating that moderate integrin expression supports cell motility. In model of high fat diet-induced diabetes, αD-deficiency prevents the retention of inflammatory macrophages in adipose tissue and improves metabolic parameters, while αM-deficiency does not affect macrophage accumulation.

We detected a new ligand for integrins αMβ2 and αDβ2, 2-(ω-carboxyethyl)pyrrole (CEP). CEP is preferentially generated during inflammation-mediated oxidation and forms adduct with ECM proteins generating novel substrate for αMβ2 and αDβ2. Targeting CEP-dependent macrophage adhesion can be a useful approach to control αDβ2-mediated chronic inflammation.

Using specially designed peptide library, protein-protein interaction and adhesion assay, we identified a peptide, called P5, which significantly inhibited αD-CEP binding. P5 peptide regulates macrophage migration in three-dimensional matrix in vitro and reduced macrophage accumulation during thioglycollate-induced peritoneal inflammation. Effect of P5 is completely eliminated in αD-deficient macrophages. Tracking of adoptively-transferred fluorescently-labeled WT and αD-/- monocytes in diabetic mice confirmed that αD-dependent inhibition of macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue is mediated by P5 peptide.

Taken together, these results demonstrate the importance of αDβ2 and αDβ2-CEP interaction for the accumulation of infiltrating macrophages during inflammation and propose P5 peptide as a potential inhibitor of atherogenesis and diabetes.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.