Group BStreptococcusis the most common cause of bacterial infection in the newborn. Infection in many cases causes persistent pulmonary hypertension, which impairs gas exchange in the lung. We purified the bacterial components causing pulmonary hypertension and identified them as cardiolipin and phosphatidylglycerol. Synthetic cardiolipin or phosphatidylglycerol also induced pulmonary hypertension in lambs. The recognition that bacterial phospholipids may cause pulmonary hypertension in newborns with Group B streptococcal infection opens new avenues for therapeutic intervention.
Smooth muscle cell proliferation around small pulmonary vessels is essential to the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension. Here we describe a molecular mechanism and animal model for this vascular pathology. Rodents engineered to express angiopoietin 1 (Ang-1) constitutively in the lung develop severe pulmonary hypertension. These animals manifest diffuse medial thickening in small pulmonary vessels, resulting from smooth muscle cell hyperplasia. This pathology is common to all forms of human pulmonary hypertension. We demonstrate that Ang-1 stimulates pulmonary arteriolar endothelial cells through a TIE2 (receptor with tyrosine kinase activity containing IgG-like loops and epidermal growth factor homology domains) pathway to produce and secrete serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), a potent smooth muscle mitogen, and find that high levels of serotonin are present both in human and rodent pulmonary hypertensive lung tissue. These results suggest that pulmonary hypertensive vasculopathy occurs through an Ang-1/TIE2/serotonin paracrine pathway and imply that these signaling molecules may be targets for strategies to treat this disease.
Regional alveolar hypoxia causes local vasoconstriction in the lung, shifting blood flow from hypoxic to normoxic areas, thereby maintaining gas exchange. This mechanism is known as hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV). Disturbances in HPV can cause life-threatening hypoxemia whereas chronic hypoxia triggers lung vascular remodeling and pulmonary hypertension. The signaling cascade of this vitally important mechanism is still unresolved. Using transient receptor potential channel 6 (TRPC6)-deficient mice, we show that this channel is a key regulator of acute HPV as this regulatory mechanism was absent inTRPC6?/?mice whereas the pulmonary vasoconstrictor response to the thromboxane mimetic U46619 was unchanged. Accordingly, induction of regional hypoventilation resulted in severe arterial hypoxemia inTRPC6?/?but not in WT mice. This effect was mirrored by a lack of hypoxia-induced cation influx and currents in smooth-muscle cells from precapillary pulmonary arteries (PASMC) ofTRPC6?/?mice. In both WT andTRPC6?/?PASMC hypoxia caused diacylglycerol (DAG) accumulation. DAG seems to exert its action via TRPC6, as DAG kinase inhibition provoked a cation influx only in WT but not inTRPC6?/?PASMC. Notably, chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension was independent of TRPC6 activity. We conclude that TRPC6 plays a unique and indispensable role in acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Manipulation of TRPC6 function may thus offer a therapeutic strategy for the control of pulmonary hemodynamics and gas exchange.
Pulmonary vascular medial hypertrophy caused by excessive pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation is a major cause for the elevated pulmonary vascular resistance in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). Increased Ca2+influx is an important stimulus for PASMC proliferation. Transient receptor potential (TRP) channel genes encode Ca2+channels that are responsible for Ca2+entry during cell proliferation. Normal human PASMC expressed multiple canonical TRP (TRPC) isoforms; TRPC6 was highly expressed and TRPC3 was minimally expressed. The protein expression of TRPC6 in normal PASMC closely correlated with the expression of Ki67, suggesting that TRPC6 expression is involved in the transition of PASMC from quiescent phase to mitosis. In lung tissues and PASMC from IPAH patients, the mRNA and protein expression of TRPC3 and -6 were much higher than in those from normotensive or secondary pulmonary hypertension patients. Inhibition of TRPC6 expression with TRPC6 small interfering RNA markedly attenuated IPAH-PASMC proliferation. These results demonstrate that expression of TRPC channels correlates with the progression of the cell cycle in PASMC. TRPC channel overexpression may be partially responsible for the increased PASMC proliferation and pulmonary vascular medial hypertrophy in IPAH patients.
Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is pathogenetically related to low levels of the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO). Because NO regulates cellular respiration and mitochondrial biogenesis, we hypothesized that abnormalities of bioenergetics may be present in IPAH. Evaluation of pulmonary artery endothelial cells from IPAH and control lungsin vitrorevealed that oxygen consumption of IPAH cells was decreased, especially in state 3 respiration with substrates glutamate-malate or succinate, and this decrease paralleled reduction in Complex IV activity and IPAH cellular NO synthesis. IPAH pulmonary artery endothelial cells had decreased mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity and lowered mitochondrial numbers per cell and mitochondrial DNA content, all of which increased after exposure to NO donors. Although IPAH/pulmonary artery endothelial cells' ATP content was similar to control under normoxia, cellular ATP did not change significantly in IPAH cells under hypoxia, whereas ATP decreased 35% in control cells, identifying a greater dependence on cellular respiration for energy in control cells. Evidence that glucose metabolism was subserving the primary role for energy requirements of IPAH cells was provided by the ≈3-fold greater glycolytic rate of IPAH cells. Positron emission tomography scan with 18F]fluoro-deoxy-d-glucose performed on IPAH patients and healthy controls revealed significantly higher uptake in IPAH lungs as compared with controls, confirming that the glycolytic rate was increasedin vivo. Thus, there are substantial changes in bioenergetics of IPAH endothelial cells, which may have consequences for pulmonary hypertensive responses and potentially in development of novel imaging modalities for diagnosis and evaluation of treatment.
Studies using genetically modified mice have revealed fundamental functions of the transcription factor Fos/AP-1 in bone biology, inflammation, and cancer. However, the biological role of the Fos-related protein Fra-2 is not well defined in vivo. Here we report an unexpected profibrogenic function of Fra-2 in transgenic mice, in which ectopic expression of Fra-2 in various organs resulted in generalized fibrosis with predominant manifestation in the lung. The pulmonary phenotype was characterized by vascular remodeling and obliteration of pulmonary arteries, which coincided with expression of osteopontin, an AP-1 target gene involved in vascular remodeling and fibrogenesis. These alterations were followed by inflammation; release of profibrogenic factors, such as IL-4, insulin-like growth factor 1, and CXCL5; progressive fibrosis; and premature mortality. Genetic experiments and bone marrow reconstitutions suggested that fibrosis developed independently of B and T cells and was not mediated by autoimmunity despite the marked inflammation observed in transgenic lungs. Importantly, strong expression of Fra-2 was also observed in human samples of idiopathic and autoimmune-mediated pulmonary fibrosis. These findings indicate that Fra-2 expression is sufficient to cause pulmonary fibrosis in mice, possibly by linking vascular remodeling and fibrogenesis, and suggest that Fra-2 has to be considered a contributing pathogenic factor of pulmonary fibrosis in humans.
Pulmonary artery (PA) hypertension was studied in a chronic hypoxic-pulmonary hypertension model (7–21 days) in the rat. Increase in PA pressure (measured by catheterism), cardiac right ventricle hypertrophy (determined by echocardiography), and PA remodeling (evaluated by histology) were almost entirely prevented after oral dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) administration (30 mg/kg every alternate day). Furthermore, in hypertensive rats, oral administration, or intravascular injection (into the jugular vein) of DHEA rapidly decreased PA hypertension. In PA smooth muscle cells, DHEA reduced the level of intracellular calcium (measured by microspectrofluorimetry). The effect of DHEA appears to involve a large conductance Ca2+-activated potassium channel (BKCa)-dependent stimulatory mechanism, at both function and expression levels (isometric contraction and Western blot), via a redox-dependent pathway. Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels also may be involved because the antagonist 4-amino-pyridine blocked part of the DHEA effect. The possible pathophysiological and therapeutic significance of the results is discussed.
We studied the effects of intravenous infusion of recombinant human tumor necrosis factor type alpha (rTNF-alpha; 12 micrograms/kg) on lung fluid balance in sheep prepared with chronic lung lymph fistulas. The role of neutrophils was examined in sheep made neutropenic with hydroxyurea (200 mg/kg for 4 or 5 days) before receiving rTNF-alpha. Infusion of rTNF-alpha resulted in respiratory distress and 3-fold increases in pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance within 15 min, indicating intense pulmonary vasoconstriction. Pulmonary lymph flow (i.e., net transvascular fluid filtration rate) and transvascular protein clearance rate (a measure of vascular permeability to protein) increased 2-fold within 30 min. The increased permeability was associated with leukopenia and neutropenia. The pulmonary hypertension and vasoconstriction subsided but fluid filtration and vascular permeability continued to increase. Sheep made neutropenic had similar increases in pulmonary transvascular fluid filtration and vascular permeability. rTNF-alpha also produced concentration-dependent increases in permeability of 125I-labeled albumin across ovine endothelial cell monolayers in the absence of neutrophils or other inflammatory mediators. The results indicate that rTNF-alpha increases pulmonary vascular permeability to protein by an effect on the endothelium.
NO causes pulmonary vasodilation in patients with pulmonary hypertension. In pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, the activity of voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels controls resting membrane potential. In turn, membrane potential is an important regulator of the intracellular free calcium concentration (Ca2+]i) and pulmonary vascular tone. We used patch clamp methods to determine whether the NO-induced pulmonary vasodilation is mediated by activation of Kv channels. Quantitative fluorescence microscopy was employed to test the effect of NO on the depolarization-induced rise in Ca2+]i. Blockade of Kv channels by 4-aminopyridine (5 mM) depolarized pulmonary artery myocytes to threshold for initiation of Ca2+ action potentials, and thereby increased Ca2+]i. NO (approximately 3 microM) and the NO-generating compound sodium nitroprusside (5-10 microM) opened Kv channels in rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. The enhanced K+ currents then hyperpolarized the cells, and blocked Ca(2+)-dependent action potentials, thereby preventing the evoked increases in Ca2+]i. Nitroprusside also increased the probability of Kv channel opening in excised, outside-out membrane patches. This raises the possibility that NO may act either directly on the channel protein or on a closely associated molecule rather than via soluble guanylate cyclase. In isolated pulmonary arteries, 4-aminopyridine significantly inhibited NO-induced relaxation. We conclude that NO promotes the opening of Kv channels in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells. The resulting membrane hyperpolarization, which lowers Ca2+]i, is apparently one of the mechanisms by which NO induces pulmonary vasodilation.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme has been solubilized from rabbit pulmonary particles and purified to homogeneity. The molecular weight of the native enzyme was estimated to be about 136,000 by glycerol gradient centrifugation, and a value of 140,000 was obtained for the reduced denatured protein by disc-gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate and 2-mercaptoethanol. The enzyme was found to be a glycoprotein with carbohydrate accounting for approximately 16% of its dry weight. The major sugar residues were identified as galactose,N-acetylglucosamine, and mannose, with smaller amounts of fucose and sialic acid. The homogeneous enzyme catalyzed the release of His-Leu from the COOH-terminus of angiotensin I and of Phe-Arg and Ser-Pro from that of bradykinin.