Extracellular histones disarrange vasoactive mediators release through a COX-NOS interaction in human endothelial cells

Daniel Pérez-Cremades, Carlos Bueno-Betí, José Luis García-Giménez, José Santiago Ibañez-Cabellos, Carlos Hermenegildo, Federico V. Pallardó, Susana Novella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Extracellular histones are mediators of inflammation, tissue injury and organ dysfunction. Interactions between circulating histones and vascular endothelial cells are key events in histone-mediated pathologies. Our aim was to investigate the implication of extracellular histones in the production of the major vasoactive compounds released by human endothelial cells (HUVECs), prostanoids and nitric oxide (NO). HUVEC exposed to increasing concentrations of histones (0.001 to 100 μg/ml) for 4 hrs induced prostacyclin (PGI2) production in a dose-dependent manner and decreased thromboxane A2 (TXA2) release at 100 μg/ml. Extracellular histones raised cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and prostacyclin synthase (PGIS) mRNA and protein expression, decreased COX-1 mRNA levels and did not change thromboxane A2 synthase (TXAS) expression. Moreover, extracellular histones decreased both, eNOS expression and NO production in HUVEC. The impaired NO production was related to COX-2 activity and superoxide production since was reversed after celecoxib (10 μmol/l) and tempol (100 μmol/l) treatments, respectively. In conclusion, our findings suggest that extracellular histones stimulate the release of endothelial-dependent mediators through an up-regulation in COX-2-PGIS-PGI2 pathway which involves a COX-2-dependent superoxide production that decreases the activity of eNOS and the NO production. These effects may contribute to the endothelial cell dysfunction observed in histone-mediated pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1584-1592
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • endothelial cells
  • extracellular histones
  • nitric oxide
  • prostanoids
  • vascular mediators


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