Constitutively active endothelial Notch4 causes lung arteriovenous shunts in mice
ABSTRACT Lung arteriovenous (AV) shunts or malformations cause significant morbidity and mortality in several distinct clinical syndromes. For most patients with lung AV shunts, there is still no optimal treatment. The underlying molecular and cellular etiology for lung AV shunts remains elusive, and currently described animal models have insufficiently addressed this problem. Using a tetracycline-repressible system, we expressed constitutively active Notch4 (Notch4*) specifically in the endothelium of adult mice. More than 90% of mice developed lung hemorrhages and respiratory insufficiency and died by 6-7 wk after gene expression began. Vascular casting and fluorescent microsphere analysis showed evidence of lung AV shunts in affected mice. Cessation of Notch4* expression reversed these pathophysiological effects. Assessment of the vascular morphology revealed enlarged, tortuous vessels in the lungs that resembled arteriovenous malformations. By using whole lung organ culture, we demonstrated the effects of constitutively active Notch4 on the lung vasculature to be a primary lung phenomenon. Together, our results indicate the importance of Notch signaling in maintaining the lung vasculature and offer a new, reliable model with which to study the pathobiology of lung arteriovenous shunts and malformations.
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ABSTRACT: Arteriovenous (AV) malformation (AVM) is a devastating condition characterized by focal lesions of enlarged, tangled vessels that shunt blood from arteries directly to veins. AVMs can form anywhere in the body and can cause debilitating ischemia and life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke. The mechanisms that underlie AVM formation remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the cellular and hemodynamic changes at the earliest stages of brain AVM formation by time-lapse two-photon imaging through cranial windows of mice expressing constitutively active Notch4 (Notch4*). AVMs arose from enlargement of preexisting microvessels with capillary diameter and blood flow and no smooth muscle cell coverage. AV shunting began promptly after Notch4* expression in endothelial cells (ECs), accompanied by increased individual EC areas, rather than increased EC number or proliferation. Alterations in Notch signaling in ECs of all vessels, but not arteries alone, affected AVM formation, suggesting that Notch functions in the microvasculature and/or veins to induce AVM. Increased Notch signaling interfered with the normal biological control of hemodynamics, permitting a positive feedback loop of increasing blood flow and vessel diameter and driving focal AVM growth from AV connections with higher blood velocity at the expense of adjacent AV connections with lower velocity. Endothelial expression of constitutively active Notch1 also led to brain AVMs in mice. Our data shed light on cellular and hemodynamic mechanisms underlying AVM pathogenesis elicited by increased Notch signaling in the endothelium.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 111(50). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1415316111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Liver dysfunction and cirrhosis affect vasculature in several organ systems and cause impairment of organ functions, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Establishment of a mouse model of hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) would provide greater insights into the genetic basis of the disease. Our objectives were to establish a mouse model of lung injury after common bile duct ligation (CBDL) and to investigate pulmonary pathogenesis for application in future therapeutic approaches. Eight-week-old Balb/c mice were subjected to CBDL. Immunohistochemical analyses and real-time quantitative reverse transcriptional polymerase chain reaction were performed on pulmonary tissues. The presence of HPS markers was detected by western blot and microarray analyses. We observed extensive proliferation of CD31-positive pulmonary vascular endothelial cells at 2 weeks after CBDL and identified 10 upregulated and 9 down-regulated proteins that were associated with angiogenesis. TNF-α and MMP-9 were highly expressed at 3 weeks after CBDL and were less expressed in the lungs of the control group. We constructed a mouse lung injury model by using CBDL. Contrary to our expectation, lung pathology in our mouse model exhibited differences from that of rat models, and the mechanisms responsible for these differences are unknown. This phenomenon may be explained by contrasting processes related to TNF induction of angiogenic signaling pathways in the inflammatory phase. Thus, we suggest that our mouse model can be applied to pulmonary pathological analyses in the inflammatory phase, i.e., to systemic inflammatory response syndrome, acute lung injury, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94550. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094550 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a fatal disease that lacks an effective therapy. Notch signaling pathway plays a crucial role in the angiogenesis and vascular remodeling. However, its roles in vascular remodeling in PH have not been well studied. In the current study, using hypoxia-induced PH model in rat, we examined the expression of Notch and its downstream factors. Then, we used vessel strip culture system and γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT, a Notch signaling inhibitor to determine the effect of Notch signaling in vascular remodeling and its potential therapeutic value. Our results indicated that Notch 1-4 were detected in the lung tissue with variable levels in different cell types such as smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells of pulmonary artery, bronchia, and alveoli. In addition, following the PH induction, all of Notch1, Notch3, Notch4 receptor, and downstream factor, HERP1 in pulmonary arteries, mRNA expressions were increased with a peak at 1-2 weeks. Furthermore, the vessel wall thickness from rats with hypoxia treatment increased after cultured for 8 days, which could be decreased approximately 30% by DAPT, accompanied with significant increase of expression level of apoptotic factors (caspase-3 and Bax) and transformation of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype from synthetic towards contractile. In conclusion, the current study suggested Notch pathway plays an important role in pulmonary vascular remodeling in PH and targeting Notch signaling pathway could be a valuable approach to design new therapy for PH.PLoS ONE 12/2012; 7(12):e51514. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0051514 · 3.53 Impact Factor