Targeting the adventitial microenvironment in pulmonary hypertension: A potential approach to therapy that considers epigenetic change

Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Critical Care-Developmental Lung Biology Laboratory, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
Pulmonary circulation 03/2012; 2(1):3-14. DOI: 10.4103/2045-8932.94817
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Experimental data indicate that the adventitial compartment of blood vessels, in both the pulmonary and systemic circulations, like the connective tissue stroma in tissues throughout the body, is a critical regulator of vessel wall function in health and disease. It is clear that adventitial cells, and in particular the adventitial fibroblast, are activated early following vascular injury, and play essential roles in regulating vascular wall structure and function through production of chemokines, cytokines, growth factors, and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The recognition of the ability of these cells to generate and maintain inflammatory responses within the vessel wall provides insight into why vascular inflammatory responses, in certain situations, fail to resolve. It is also clear that the activated adventitial fibroblast plays an important role in regulating vasa vasorum growth, which can contribute to ongoing vascular remodeling by acting as a conduit for delivery of inflammatory and progenitor cells. These functions of the fibroblast clearly support the idea that targeting chemokine, cytokine, adhesion molecule, and growth factor production in activated fibroblasts could be helpful in abrogating vascular inflammatory responses and thus in ameliorating vascular disease. Further, the recent observations that fibroblasts in vascular and fibrotic diseases may maintain their activated state through epigenetic alterations in key inflammatory and pro-fibrotic genes suggests that current therapies used to treat pulmonary hypertension may not be sufficient to induce apoptosis or to inhibit key inflammatory signaling pathways in these fibroblasts. New therapies targeted at reversing changes in the acetylation or methylation status of key transcriptional networks may be needed. At present, therapies specifically targeting abnormalities of histone deacytelase (HDAC) activity in fibroblast-like cells appear to hold promise.

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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH) comprises a heterogeneous group of diseases sharing the common feature of chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling. The disease is usually characterized by mild to moderate pulmonary vascular remodeling that is largely thought to be reversible as compared with the progressive irreversible disease seen in World Health Organization (WHO) group I disease. However, in these patients the presence of PH significantly worsens morbidity and mortality. In addition, a small subset of patients with hypoxic PH develop "out-of-proportion" severe pulmonary hypertension characterized by pulmonary vascular remodeling that is irreversible and similar to that in WHO group 1 disease. In all cases of hypoxia-related vascular remodeling and PH, inflammation, particularly persistent inflammation, is thought to play a role. This review focuses on the effects of hypoxia on pulmonary vascular cells and the signaling pathways involved in the initiation and perpetuation of vascular inflammation, especially as they relate to vascular remodeling and transition to chronic irreversible pulmonary hypertension. We hypothesize that the combination of hypoxia and local tissue factors/cytokines ("second hit") antagonizes tissue homeostatic cellular interactions between mesenchymal cells (fibroblasts and/or smooth muscle cells) and macrophages and arrests these cells in an epigenetically locked and permanently activated pro-remodeling and pro-inflammatory phenotype. This aberrant cellular cross-talk between mesenchymal cells and macrophages promotes transition to chronic non-resolving inflammation and vascular remodeling perpetuating PH. A better understanding of these signaling pathways may lead to the development of specific therapeutic targets, as none are currently available for WHO group III disease. Copyright © 2014, American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 11/2014; 308(3):ajplung.00238.2014. DOI:10.1152/ajplung.00238.2014 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by cellular and structural changes in the vascular wall of pulmonary arteries. We hypothesized that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a bioactive lipid, is implicated in this vascular remodeling in a rat model of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. Exposure of Wistar rats to 10% O2 for 3 weeks induced an increase in the mean serum levels of LPA, to 40.9 (log-detransformed standard deviations: 23.4-71.7) μM versus 21.6 (11.0-42.3) μM in a matched control animal group (P = 0.037). We also observed perivascular LPA immunohistochemical staining in lungs of hypoxic rats colocalized with the secreted lysophospholipase D autotaxin (ATX). Moreover, ATX colocalized with mast cell tryptase, suggesting implication of these cells in perivascular LPA production. Hypoxic rat lungs expressed more ATX transcripts (2.4-fold) and more transcripts of proteins implicated in cell migration: β2 integrin (1.74-fold), intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1; 1.84-fold), and αM integrin (2.70-fold). Serum from the hypoxic group of animals had significantly higher chemoattractant properties toward rat primary lung fibroblasts, and this increase in cell migration could be prevented by the LPA receptor 1 and 3 antagonists. LPA also increased adhesive properties of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells as well as those of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, via the activation of LPA receptor 1 or 3 followed by the stimulation of gene expression of ICAM-1, β-1, E-selectin, and vascular cell adhesion molecule integrins. In conclusion, chronic hypoxia increases circulating and tissue levels of LPA, which might induce fibroblast migration and recruitment of mononuclear cells in pulmonary vasculature, both of which contribute to pulmonary vascular remodeling.
    09/2014; 4(3):471-481. DOI:10.1086/677362

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