Objective: We aim to comprehensively describe the transcriptional activity and signaling of pulmonary parenchymal and immune cells before and after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) by using a multi-omic approach coupled with functional cellular assays. We hypothesize that key signaling pathways from specific cells within the lung alter pulmonary endothelial cell function resulting in worsening or improving disease.
Methods: We collected serial tracheobronchial lavage samples from intubated patients less than 2-years-old undergoing surgery with CPB. Samples were immediately processed for single cell RNA sequencing (10x Genomics). Cell clustering, cell-type annotation, and visualization were performed, and differentially expressed genes (DEG) between serial samples were identified. Metabolomic and proteomic analyses were performed on the supernatant using mass spectrometry and a multiplex assay (SomaScan) respectively. Functional assays were done using electric cell-substrate impedance sensing to measure resistance across human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMECs).
Results: Analysis of eight patients showed a heterogeneous mixture of pulmonary parenchymal and immune cells. Cell clustering demonstrated time-dependent changes in the transcriptomic signature indicating altered cellular phenotypes after CPB. DEG analysis was represented by genes involved in host defense, innate immunity, and the mitochondrial respiratory transport chain. Ingenuity pathway analysis showed upregulation of the integrated stress response across all cell types after CPB. Metabolomic analysis demonstrated upregulation of ascorbate and aldarate metabolism. Unbiased proteomic analysis revealed upregulation of proteins involved in cytokine and chemokine pathways. Post-CPB patient supernatant improved HMPEC barrier function, suggesting a protective cellular response to CPB.
Conclusion: Children who undergo CPB for cardiac surgery have distinct cell populations, transcriptional activity, and metabolism that change over time. The response to ischemia-reperfusion injury in the lower airway of children appears to be protective, with the need to identify potential targets through future investigations.