Abstract

Dexmedetomidine, a highly selective α2-adrenoceptor agonist, has been reported to exert an anti-inflammatory effect in several animal models, but the mechanism remains unclear. Previous studies have shown that hypoxia inducible factor 1α-induced glycolysis is essential for the activation of inflammatory macrophages. However, whether dexmedetomidine influences hypoxia inducible factor 1α-induced glycolysis and thus exerts an anti-inflammatory effect has been poorly investigated. This study aims to elucidate the anti-inflammatory mechanism of dexmedetomidine involving the hypoxia inducible factor 1α-dependent glycolytic pathway. We showed that dexmedetomidine could suppress lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory cytokine production; inhibit the extracellular acidification rate, glucose consumption and lactate production; and decrease the expression of glycolytic genes in macrophages. The enhancement of glycolysis by the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor or higher concentration of glucose could reverse the anti-inflammatory effect of dexmedetomidine on lipopolysaccharide-treated macrophages. Moreover, dexmedetomidine significantly inhibited the upregulation of hypoxia inducible factor 1α at the mRNA and protein levels. Genetic inhibition of hypoxia inducible factor 1α expression could reverse the anti-inflammatory effect of dexmedetomidine. Taken together, our results indicate that dexmedetomidine attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced proinflammatory responses partially by suppressing hypoxia inducible factor 1α-dependent glycolysis in macrophages.