Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibition Is Protective in Hyperoxia-Induced Lung Injury

Zachary M. Harris, Ying Sun, John Joerns, Brian Clark, Buqu Hu, Asawari Korde, Lokesh Sharma, Hyeon Jun Shin, Edward P. Manning, Lindsey Placek, Derya Unutmaz, Gail Stanley, Hyung Chun, Maor Sauler, Govindarajan Rajagopalan, Xuchen Zhang, Min Jong Kang, Jonathan L. Koff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aims. Studies have linked severe hyperoxia, or prolonged exposure to very high oxygen levels, with worse clinical outcomes. This study investigated the role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in hyperoxia-induced lung injury at very high oxygen levels (>95%). Results. Effects of severe hyperoxia (100% oxygen) were studied in mice with genetically inhibited EGFR and wild-type littermates. Despite the established role of EGFR in lung repair, EGFR inhibition led to improved survival and reduced acute lung injury, which prompted an investigation into this protective mechanism. Endothelial EGFR genetic knockout did not confer protection. EGFR inhibition led to decreased levels of cleaved caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribosyl) polymerase (PARP) and decreased terminal dUTP nick end labeling- (TUNEL-) positive staining in alveolar epithelial cells and reduced ERK activation, which suggested reduced apoptosis in vivo. EGFR inhibition decreased hyperoxia (95%)-induced apoptosis and ERK in murine alveolar epithelial cells in vitro, and CRISPR-mediated EGFR deletion reduced hyperoxia-induced apoptosis and ERK in human alveolar epithelial cells in vitro. Innovation. This work defines a protective role of EGFR inhibition to decrease apoptosis in lung injury induced by 100% oxygen. This further characterizes the complex role of EGFR in acute lung injury and outlines a novel hyperoxia-induced cell death pathway that warrants further study. Conclusion. In conditions of severe hyperoxia (>95% for >24 h), EGFR inhibition led to improved survival, decreased lung injury, and reduced cell death. These findings further elucidate the complex role of EGFR in acute lung injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9518592
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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