[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent study demonstrated a significant role for leukotriene B4 (LTB4) causing pulmonary vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. LTB4 was found to directly injure luminal endothelial cells and promote growth of the smooth muscle cell layer of pulmonary arterioles. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of LTB4 on the pulmonary adventitial layer, largely composed of fibroblasts. Here, we demonstrate that LTB4 enhanced human pulmonary artery adventitial fibroblast proliferation, migration, and differentiation in a dose-dependent manner through its cognate G-protein-coupled receptor, BLT1. LTB4 activated human pulmonary artery adventitial fibroblast by upregulating p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase as well as Nox4-signaling pathways. In an autoimmune model of pulmonary hypertension, inhibition of these pathways blocked perivascular inflammation, decreased Nox4 expression, reduced reactive oxygen species production, reversed arteriolar adventitial fibroblast activation, and attenuated pulmonary hypertension development. This study uncovers a novel mechanism by which LTB4 further promotes pulmonary arterial hypertension pathogenesis, beyond its established effects on endothelial and smooth muscle cells, by activating adventitial fibroblasts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by endothelial dysregulation, but global changes in gene expression have not been related to perturbations in function.
RNA sequencing was utilized to discriminate changes in transcriptomes of endothelial cells cultured from lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension vs. controls and to assess the functional significance of major differentially expressed transcripts.
The endothelial transcriptomes from seven control and six idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patients' lungs were analyzed. Differentially expressed genes were related to BMPR2 signaling. Those downregulated were assessed for function in cultured cells, and in a transgenic mouse.
Fold-differences in ten genes were significant (p<0.05), four increased and six decreased in patients vs.
No patient was mutant for BMPR2. However, knockdown of BMPR2 by siRNA in control pulmonary arterial endothelial cells recapitulated six/ten patient-related gene changes, including decreased collagen IV (COL4A1, COL4A2) and ephrinA1 (EFNA1). Reduction of BMPR2 regulated transcripts was related to decreased β-catenin. Reducing COL4A1, COL4A2 and EFNA1 by siRNA inhibited pulmonary endothelial adhesion, migration and tube formation. In mice null for the EFNA1 receptor, EphA2, vs. controls, VEGF receptor blockade and hypoxia caused more severe pulmonary hypertension, judged by elevated right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy and loss of small arteries.
The novel relationship between BMPR2 dysfunction and reduced expression of endothelial COL4 and EFNA1 may underlie vulnerability to injury in pulmonary arterial hypertension.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 06/2015; 192(3). DOI:10.1164/rccm.201408-1528OC · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by endothelial cell dysfunction, impaired BMPR2 signaling, and increased elastase activity. Synthetic elastase inhibitors reverse experimental pulmonary hypertension but cause hepatotoxicity in clinical studies. The endogenous elastase inhibitor elafin attenuates the development of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in mice, but its potential to improve endothelial cell function and BMPR2 signaling, and to reverse severe experimental pulmonary hypertension or vascular pathology in the human disease was unknown.
To assess elafin-mediated regression of pulmonary vascular pathology in rats with pulmonary hypertension induced by VEGF receptor blockade and hypoxia (Sugen/Hypoxia), and in lung explants from pulmonary hypertension patients. To determine if elafin amplifies BMPR2 signaling in pulmonary artery endothelial cells from controls and patients, and to elucidate the underlying mechanism. Methods, Measurements and Main Results: In Sugen/Hypoxia rats, elafin reduced elastase activity and reversed pulmonary hypertension, judged by regression of right ventricular systolic pressure and hypertrophy and pulmonary artery occlusive changes. Elafin improved endothelial function by increasing apelin, a product of BMPR2 signaling. Elafin induced apoptosis in human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells and in lung organ culture elafin decreased neointimal lesions. In normal and patient pulmonary artery endothelial cells, elafin enhanced survival and promoted angiogenesis by increasing pSMAD dependent and independent BMPR2 signaling. This was linked mechanistically to augmented interaction of BMPR2 with caveolin-1 via elafin-mediated stabilization of caveolin-1 on endothelial surfaces.
Elafin reverses obliterative changes in rat and human pulmonary arteries via elastase inhibition and caveolin-1 dependent amplification of BMPR2 signaling.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 04/2015; 191(11). DOI:10.1164/rccm.201412-2291OC · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The loss of a functional microvascular bed in rejecting solid organ transplants is correlated with fibrotic remodeling and chronic rejection; in lung allografts, this pathology is predicted by bronchoalveolar fluid neutrophilia which suggests a role for polymorphonuclear cells in microcirculatory injury. In a mouse orthotopic tracheal transplant model, cyclosporine, which primarily inhibits T cells, failed as a monotherapy for preventing microvessel rejection and graft ischemia. To target neutrophil action that may be contributing to vascular injury, we examined the effect of a neutrophil elastase inhibitor, elafin, on the microvascular health of transplant tissue. We showed that elafin monotherapy prolonged microvascular perfusion and enhanced tissue oxygenation while diminishing the infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages and decreasing tissue deposition of complement C3 and the membrane attack complex, C5b-9. Elafin was also found to promote angiogenesis through activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway but was insufficient as a single agent to completely prevent tissue ischemia during acute rejection episodes. However, when combined with cyclosporine, elafin effectively preserved airway microvascular perfusion and oxygenation. The therapeutic strategy of targeting neutrophil elastase activity alongside standard immunosuppression during acute rejection episodes may be an effective approach for preventing the development of irreversible fibrotic remodeling.
American Journal of Transplantation 02/2015; · 5.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
Rupture and dissection of aortic root aneurysms remain the leading causes of death in patients with the Marfan syndrome, a hereditary connective tissue disorder that affects 1 in 5000 individuals worldwide. In the present study, we use a Marfan mouse model (Fbn1(C1039G/+)) to investigate the biological importance of apoptosis during aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome.
Approach and results:
Using in vivo single-photon emission computed tomographic-imaging and ex vivo autoradiography for Tc99m-annexin, we discovered increased apoptosis in the Fbn1(C1039G/+) ascending aorta during early aneurysm development peaking at 4 weeks. Immunofluorescence colocalization studies identified smooth muscle cells (SMCs) as the apoptotic cell population. As biological proof of concept that early aortic wall apoptosis plays a role in aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome, Fbn1(C1039G/+) mice were treated daily from 2 to 6 weeks with either (1) a pan-caspase inhibitor, Q-VD-OPh (20 mg/kg), or (2) vehicle control intraperitoneally. Q-VD-OPh treatment led to a significant reduction in aneurysm size and decreased extracellular matrix degradation in the aortic wall compared with control mice. In vitro studies using Fbn1(C1039G/+) ascending SMCs showed that apoptotic SMCs have increased elastolytic potential compared with viable cells, mostly because of caspase activity. Moreover, in vitro (1) cell membrane isolation, (2) immunofluorescence staining, and (3) scanning electron microscopy studies illustrate that caspases are expressed on the exterior cell surface of apoptotic SMCs.
Caspase inhibition attenuates aneurysm development in an Fbn1(C1039G/+) Marfan mouse model. Mechanistically, during apoptosis, caspases are expressed on the cell surface of SMCs and likely contribute to elastin degradation and aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening disorder that is associated with elevated pulmonary pressures and right heart failure resulting from progressive loss and thickening of small pulmonary arteries. Despite their ability to improve symptoms, current therapies fail to prevent disease progression, leaving lung transplantation as the only therapy in end-stage PAH. To overcome the limitations of current therapies, there is an active search for disease-modifying agents capable of altering the natural history of, and improving clinical outcomes in, PAH. The Wnt signaling pathways have emerged as attractive treatment targets in PAH given their role in the preservation of pulmonary vascular homeostasis and the recent development of Wnt-specific compounds and biological therapies capable of modulating pathway activity. In this review, we summarize the literature describing the role of Wnt signaling in the pulmonary circulation and discuss promising advances in the field of Wnt therapeutics that could lead to novel clinical therapies capable of preventing and/or reversing pulmonary vascular pathology in patients with this devastating disease.
Drug Discovery Today 06/2014; 19(8). DOI:10.1016/j.drudis.2014.06.014 · 6.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review summarizes an expanding body of knowledge indicating that failure to resolve inflammation and altered immune processes underlie the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The chemokines and cytokines implicated in pulmonary arterial hypertension that could form a biomarker platform are discussed. Pre-clinical studies that provide the basis for dysregulated immunity in animal models of the disease are reviewed. In addition, we present therapies that target inflammatory/immune mechanisms that are currently enrolling patients, and discuss others in development. We show how genetic and metabolic abnormalities are inextricably linked to dysregulated immunity and adverse remodeling in the pulmonary arteries.
Circulation Research 06/2014; 115(1):165-75. DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.301141 · 11.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: a Leader of the Congenital Heart Disease Task Force, PVRI; b In memoriam; c Leader of the Pediatric Task Force, PVRI Abstract: Standardization of the diagnostic routine for children with congenital heart disease associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH-CHD) is crucial, in particular since inappropriate assignment to repair of the cardiac lesions (e.g., surgical repair in patients with elevated pulmonary vascular resis-tance) may be detrimental and associated with poor outcomes. Thus, members of the Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Task Forces of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute decided to conduct a survey aimed at collecting expert opinion from different institutions in several countries, covering many aspects of the management of PAH-CHD, from clinical recognition to noninvasive and invasive diagnostic procedures and immediate postoperative support. In privileged communities, the vast majority of children with congenital cardiac shunts are now treated early in life, on the basis of noninvasive diagnostic eval-uation, and have an uneventful postoperative course, with no residual PAH. However, a small percentage of patients (older at presentation, with extracardiac syndromes or absence of clinical features of increased pulmonary blood flow, thus suggesting elevated pulmonary vascular resistance) remain at a higher risk of complications and unfavorable outcomes. These patients need a more sophisticated diagnostic approach, including invasive procedures. The authors emphasize that decision making regarding operability is based not only on cardiac catheterization data but also on the complete diagnostic picture, which includes the clinical history, physical examination, and all aspects of noninvasive evaluation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH [IPAH]) is an insidious and potentially fatal disease linked to a mutation or reduced expression of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2). Because intravascular inflammatory cells are recruited in IPAH pathogenesis, we hypothesized that reduced BMPR2 enhances production of the potent chemokine granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in response to an inflammatory perturbation. When human pulmonary artery (PA) endothelial cells deficient in BMPR2 were stimulated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a twofold increase in GM-CSF was observed and related to enhanced messenger RNA (mRNA) translation. The mechanism was associated with disruption of stress granule formation. Specifically, loss of BMPR2 induced prolonged phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in response to TNF, and this increased GADD34-PP1 phosphatase activity, dephosphorylating eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF2α), and derepressing GM-CSF mRNA translation. Lungs from IPAH patients versus unused donor controls revealed heightened PA expression of GM-CSF co-distributing with increased TNF and expanded populations of hematopoietic and endothelial GM-CSF receptor α (GM-CSFRα)-positive cells. Moreover, a 3-wk infusion of GM-CSF in mice increased hypoxia-induced PAH, in association with increased perivascular macrophages and muscularized distal arteries, whereas blockade of GM-CSF repressed these features. Thus, reduced BMPR2 can subvert a stress granule response, heighten GM-CSF mRNA translation, increase inflammatory cell recruitment, and exacerbate PAH.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 01/2014; 211(2). DOI:10.1084/jem.20111741 · 12.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Knowledge of the pathobiology of pulmonary hypertension (PH) continues to accelerate. However, fundamental gaps remain in our understanding of the underlying pathological changes in pulmonary arteries and veins in the different forms of this syndrome. Although PH primarily affects the arteries, venous disease is increasingly recognized as an important entity. Moreover, prognosis in PH is determined largely by the status of the right ventricle, rather than the levels of pulmonary artery pressures. It is increasingly clear that although vasospasm plays a role, PH is an obstructive lung panvasculopathy. Disordered metabolism and mitochondrial structure, inflammation, and dysregulation of growth factors lead to a proliferative, apoptosis-resistant state. These abnormalities may be acquired, genetically mediated as a result of mutations in bone morphogenetic protein receptor-2 or activin-like kinase-1, or epigenetically inherited (as a result of epigenetic silencing of genes such as superoxide dismutase-2). There is a pressing need to better understand how the pathobiology leads to severe disease in some patients versus mild PH in others. Recent recognition of a potential role of acquired abnormalities of mitochondrial metabolism in the right ventricular myocytes and pulmonary vascular cells suggests new therapeutic approaches, diagnostic modalities, and biomarkers. Finally, dissection of the role of pulmonary inflammation in the initiation and promotion of PH has revealed a complex yet fascinating interplay with pulmonary vascular remodeling, promising to lead to novel therapeutics and diagnostics. Emerging concepts are also relevant to the pathobiology of PH, including a role for bone marrow and circulating progenitor cells and microribonucleic acids. Continued interest in the interface of the genetic basis of PH and cellular and molecular pathogenetic links should further expand our understanding of the disease.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 12/2013; 62(25 Suppl):D4-D12. DOI:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.10.025 · 16.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a serious condition that affects mainly young and middle-aged women, and its etiology is poorly understood. A prominent pathological feature of PH is accumulation of macrophages near the arterioles of the lung. In both clinical tissue and the SU5416 (SU)/athymic rat model of severe PH, we found that the accumulated macrophages expressed high levels of leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H), the biosynthetic enzyme for leukotriene B4 (LTB4). Moreover, macrophage-derived LTB4 directly induced apoptosis in pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAECs). Further, LTB4 induced proliferation and hypertrophy of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. We found that LTB4 acted through its receptor, BLT1, to induce PAEC apoptosis by inhibiting the protective endothelial sphingosine kinase 1 (Sphk1)-endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) pathway. Blocking LTA4H decreased in vivo LTB4 levels, prevented PAEC apoptosis, restored Sphk1-eNOS signaling, and reversed fulminant PH in the SU/athymic rat model of PH. Antagonizing BLT1 similarly reversed established PH. Inhibition of LTB4 biosynthesis or signal transduction in SU-treated athymic rats with established disease also improved cardiac function and reopened obstructed arterioles; this approach was also effective in the monocrotaline model of severe PH. Human plexiform lesions, one hallmark of PH, showed increased numbers of macrophages, which expressed LTA4H, and patients with connective tissue disease-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension exhibited significantly higher LTB4 concentrations in the systemic circulation than did healthy subjects. These results uncover a possible role for macrophage-derived LTB4 in PH pathogenesis and identify a pathway that may be amenable to therapeutic targeting.
Science translational medicine 08/2013; 5(200):200ra117. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006674 · 15.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysfunctional bone morphogenetic protein receptor-2 (BMPR2) signaling is implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We used a transcriptional high-throughput luciferase reporter assay to screen 3,756 FDA-approved drugs and bioactive compounds for induction of BMPR2 signaling. The best response was achieved with FK506 (tacrolimus), via a dual mechanism of action as a calcineurin inhibitor that also binds FK-binding protein-12 (FKBP12), a repressor of BMP signaling. FK506 released FKBP12 from type I receptors activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1), ALK2, and ALK3 and activated downstream SMAD1/5 and MAPK signaling and ID1 gene regulation in a manner superior to the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine and the FKBP12 ligand rapamycin. In pulmonary artery endothelial cells (ECs) from patients with idiopathic PAH, low-dose FK506 reversed dysfunctional BMPR2 signaling. In mice with conditional Bmpr2 deletion in ECs, low-dose FK506 prevented exaggerated chronic hypoxic PAH associated with induction of EC targets of BMP signaling, such as apelin. Low-dose FK506 also reversed severe PAH in rats with medial hypertrophy following monocrotaline and in rats with neointima formation following VEGF receptor blockade and chronic hypoxia. Our studies indicate that low-dose FK506 could be useful in the treatment of PAH.
The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2013; 123(8). DOI:10.1172/JCI65592 · 13.22 Impact Factor