Increased glycolysis in the lung vasculature has been connected to the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We therefore investigated whether glycolytic regulator 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase (PFKFB3)-mediated endothelial glycolysis plays a critical role in the development of PH. Heterozygous global deficiency of protected mice from developing hypoxia-induced PH, and administration of the PFKFB3 inhibitor 3PO almost completely prevented PH in rats treated with Sugen 5416/hypoxia, indicating a causative role of PFKFB3 in the development of PH. Immunostaining of lung sections and Western blot with isolated lung endothelial cells showed a dramatic increase in PFKFB3 expression and activity in pulmonary endothelial cells of rodents and humans with PH. We generated mice that were constitutively or inducibly deficient in endothelial and found that these mice were incapable of developing PH or showed slowed PH progression. Compared with control mice, endothelial -knockout mice exhibited less severity of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, endothelial inflammation, and leukocyte recruitment in the lungs. In the absence of , lung endothelial cells from rodents and humans with PH produced lower levels of growth factors (such as PDGFB and FGF2) and proinflammatory factors (such as CXCL12 and IL1β). This is mechanistically linked to decreased levels of HIF2A in lung ECs following knockdown. Taken together, these results suggest that targeting PFKFB3 is a promising strategy for the treatment of PH.
MircoRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that govern the gene expression and, play significant role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. The detection of miRNAs in circulation of pulmonary hypertensive (PH) human subjects remains elusive. In the current study, we determined the pattern of miRNAs of mild-to-severe human PH subjects and, compared them with the control subjects by miRNA array. Blood was obtained using fluoroscopic and waveform guided catheterization from the distal (pulmonary artery) port of the catheter. A total 40 human subjects were included in the study and, the degree of PH was determined by mean pulmonary arterial pressure. Among several miRNAs in the array, we validated 14 miRNAs and, the data were consistent with the array profile. We identified several novel downregulated miRNAs (miR-451, miR-1246) and upregulated miRNAs (miR-23b, miR-130a and miR-191) in the circulation of PH subjects. Our study showed novel set of miRNAs which are dysregulated in PH and, are directly proportional to the degree of PH. These miRNAs may be considered as potential biomarker for early detection of PH.
Background Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a common finding in patients with chronic fibrosing idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIP). Little is known about the response to pulmonary vasodilator therapy in this patient population. COMPERA is an international registry that prospectively captures data from patients with various forms of PH receiving pulmonary vasodilator therapies. Methods We retrieved data from COMPERA to compare patient characteristics, treatment patterns, response to therapy and survival in newly diagnosed patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and PH associated with IIP (PH-IIP). Results Compared to patients with IPAH (n = 798), patients with PH-IIP (n = 151) were older and predominantly males. Patients with PH-IIP were treated predominantly with phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (88% at entry, 87% after 1 year). From baseline to the first follow-up visit, the median improvement in 6MWD was 30 m in patients with IPAH and 24.5 m in patients with PH-IIP (p = 0.457 for the difference between both groups). Improvements in NYHA functional class were observed in 22.4% and 29.5% of these patients, respectively (p = 0.179 for the difference between both groups). Survival rates were significantly worse in PH-IIP than in IPAH (3-year survival 34.0 versus 68.6%; p<0.001). Total lung capacity, NYHA class IV, and mixed-venous oxygen saturation were independent predictors of survival in patients with PH-IIP. Conclusions Patients with PH-IIP have a dismal prognosis. Our results suggest that pulmonary vasodilator therapy may be associated with short-term functional improvement in some of these patients but it is unclear whether this treatment affects survival.
Quercetin is a dietary flavonoid which exerts vasodilator, antiplatelet and antiproliferative effects and reduces blood pressure, oxidative status and end-organ damage in humans and animal models of systemic hypertension. We hypothesized that oral quercetin treatment might be protective in a rat model of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Three weeks after injection of monocrotaline, quercetin (10 mg/kg/d per os) or vehicle was administered for 10 days to adult Wistar rats. Quercetin significantly reduced mortality. In surviving animals, quercetin decreased pulmonary arterial pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy and muscularization of small pulmonary arteries. Classic biomarkers of pulmonary arterial hypertension such as the downregulated expression of lung BMPR2, Kv1.5, Kv2.1, upregulated survivin, endothelial dysfunction and hyperresponsiveness to 5-HT were unaffected by quercetin. Quercetin significantly restored the decrease in Kv currents, the upregulation of 5-HT2A receptors and reduced the Akt and S6 phosphorylation. In vitro, quercetin induced pulmonary artery vasodilator effects, inhibited pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. In conclusion, quercetin is partially protective in this rat model of PAH. It delayed mortality by lowering PAP, RVH and vascular remodeling. Quercetin exerted effective vasodilator effects in isolated PA, inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in PASMCs. These effects were associated with decreased 5-HT2A receptor expression and Akt and S6 phosphorylation and partially restored Kv currents. Therefore, quercetin could be useful in the treatment of PAH.
Chronic hypoxia is an inciting factor for the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The mechanisms involved in the development of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (HPH) include hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1)-dependent transactivation of genes controlling pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca²⁺]i-) and pH. Recently, digoxin was shown to inhibit HIF-1 transcriptional activity. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that digoxin could prevent and reverse the development of HPH. Mice were injected daily with saline or digoxin and exposed to room air or ambient hypoxia for 3 wk. Treatment with digoxin attenuated the development of right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy and prevented the pulmonary vascular remodeling and increases in PASMC [Ca²⁺]i-, pH, and RV pressure that occur in mice exposed to chronic hypoxia. When started after pulmonary hypertension was established, digoxin attenuated the hypoxia-induced increases in RV pressure and PASMC pH and [Ca²⁺]¡- These preclinical data support a role for HIF-1 inhibitors in the treatment of HPH.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by the increase of the mean pulmonary arterial pressure in the lung circulation. Despite the large number of experimental and clinical studies conducted on pulmonary hypertension, there is no comprehensive work that analyzed the global research activity on PH so far. We retrieved the bibliometric data of the publications on pulmonary hypertension for two periods from the Web of science database. Here, we set the first investigation period from 1900 to 2007 (t1) due to the cited half life of articles and the relating difficulties to interpret the citation parameters. The second evaluation period (t2) covers the time interval from 2008 onwards including the year 2015. The data were analyzed and processed to density-equalizing maps using the NewQIS platform. A total number of 18,986 publications were identified in t1 that come from 85 countries. The US published the highest number of publications (n = 7,290), followed by the UK, Germany, Japan and France. In t2 19,676 items could be found worked out by 130 countries. The raking started just the same with the USA as most publishing nation with 7,127 publications on PH, followed by the UK and Germany. Japan fell back on 6th place, whereas China came into view on the 5th position. Analyzing the average citation rate as a parameter for research quality, Mexico reached the highest value in t1 and Ireland in t2. While, the country specific h-index underlined the leading position of the US research in both evaluation periods again. The average number of international collaboration items was expanding from none in 1978 to 530 items in 2015 with the USA as the country with the highest number of collaboration articles. The present study is the first large scale density-equalizing mapping and scientometric analysis of global PH research activity. Our data draw a sketch of the global research architecture in this field, indicating a need for specific research programs in countries with a lower human development index.
Conduit pulmonary artery (PA) stiffening is characteristic of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and is an excellent predictor of mortality due to right ventricular (RV) overload. To better understand the impact of conduit PA stiffening on RV afterload, it is critical to examine the arterial viscoelastic properties, which require measurements of elasticity (energy storage behavior) and viscosity (energy dissipation behavior). Here we hypothesize that PAH leads to frequency-dependent changes in arterial stiffness (related to elasticity) and damping ratio (related to viscosity) in large PAs. To test our hypothesis, PAH was induced by the combination of chronic hypoxia and an antiangiogenic compound (SU5416) treatment in mice. Static and sinusoidal pressure-inflation tests were performed on isolated conduit PAs at various frequencies (0.01-20 Hz) to obtain the mechanical properties in the absence of smooth muscle contraction. Static mechanical tests showed significant stiffening of large PAs with PAH, as expected. In dynamic mechanical tests, structural stiffness (kappa) increased and damping ratio (D) decreased at a physiologically relevant frequency (10 Hz) in hypertensive PAs. The dynamic elastic modulus (E), a material stiffness, did not increase significantly with PAH. All dynamic mechanical properties were strong functions of frequency. In particular, kappa, E and D increased with increasing frequency in control PAs. While this behavior remained for D in hypertensive PAs, it reversed for kappa and E. Since these novel dynamic mechanical property changes were found in the absence of changes in smooth muscle cell content or contraction, changes in collagen and proteoglycans and their interactions are likely critical to arterial viscoelasticity in a way that has not been previously described. The impact of these changes in PA viscoelasticity on RV afterload in PAH awaits further investigation.
Background: The nitric oxide (NO)-soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC)-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signal-transduction pathway is impaired in many cardiovascular diseases, including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Riociguat (BAY 63-2521) is a stimulator of sGC that works both in synergy with and independently of NO to increase levels of cGMP. The aims of this study were to investigate the role of NO-sGC-cGMP signaling in a model of severe PAH and to evaluate the effects of sGC stimulation by riociguat and PDE5 inhibition by sildenafil on pulmonary hemodynamics and vascular remodeling in severe experimental PAH. Methods and Results: Severe angioproliferative PAH was induced in rats by combined exposure to the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor antagonist SU5416 and hypoxia (SUHx). Twenty-one days thereafter rats were randomized to receive either riociguat (10 mg/kg/day), sildenafil (50 mg/kg/day) or vehicle by oral gavage, for 14 days until the day of the terminal hemodynamic measurements. Administration of riociguat or sildenafil significantly decreased right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP). Riociguat significantly decreased RV hypertrophy (RVH) (0.55 +/- 0.02, p<0.05), increased cardiac output (60.8 +/-.8 mL/minute, p<0.05) and decreased total pulmonary resistance (4.03 +/- 0.3 mmHg min(-1) ml(-1) 100 g BW, p<0.05), compared with sildenafil and vehicle. Both compounds significantly decreased the RV collagen content and improved RV function, but the effects of riociguat on tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion and RV myocardial performance were significantly better than those of sildenafil (p<0.05). The proportion of occluded arteries was significantly lower in animals receiving riociguat than in those receiving vehicle (p<0.05); furthermore, the neointima/media ratio was significantly lower in those receiving riociguat than in those receiving sildenafil or vehicle (p<0.05). Conclusion: Riociguat and sildenafil significantly reduced RVSP and RVH, and improved RV function compared with vehicle. Riociguat had a greater effect on hemodynamics and RVH than sildenafil.
Pulmonary vascular remodeling and increased arterial wall stiffness are two major causes for the elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary arterial pressure in patients and animals with pulmonary hypertension. Cellular copper (Cu) plays an important role in angiogenesis and extracellular matrix remodeling; increased Cu in vascular smooth muscle cells has been demonstrated to be associated with atherosclerosis and hypertension in animal experiments. In this study, we show that the Cu-uptake transporter 1, CTR1, and the Cu-efflux pump, ATP7A, were both upregulated in the lung tissues and pulmonary arteries of mice with hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Hypoxia also significantly increased expression and activity of lysyl oxidase (LOX), a Cu-dependent enzyme that causes crosslinks of collagen and elastin in the extracellular matrix. In vitro experiments show that exposure to hypoxia or treatment with cobalt (CoCl2) also increased protein expression of CTR1, ATP7A, and LOX in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC). In PASMC exposed to hypoxia or treated with CoCl2, we also confirmed that the Cu transport is increased using Cu-64 uptake assays. Furthermore, hypoxia increased both cell migration and proliferation in a Cu-dependent manner. Downregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) with siRNA significantly attenuated hypoxia-mediated upregulation of CTR1 mRNA. In summary, the data from this study indicate that increased Cu transportation due to upregulated CTR1 and ATP7A in pulmonary arteries and PASMC contributes to the development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. The increased Cu uptake and elevated ATP7A also facilitate the increase in LOX activity and thus the increase in crosslink of extracellular matrix, and eventually leading to the increase in pulmonary arterial stiffness.