ABSTRACT: Expression of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain protein 2 (NOD2) is upregulated in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) during hypoxia. To investigate the involvement of NOD2 in the pulmonary vascular response to hypoxia, we subjected wild-type and NOD2-deficient mice to chronic normobaric hypoxic conditions. Compared to wild-type mice, NOD2-deficient mice developed severe pulmonary hypertension with exaggerated elevation of right ventricular systolic pressure, profound right ventricular hypertrophy and striking vascular remodeling after exposure to hypoxia. Pulmonary vascular remodeling in NOD2-deficient mice was characterized by increased PASMC proliferation. Furthermore, hypoxia-inducible factor-1? expression and Akt phosphorylation were upregulated in PASMCs from NOD2-deficient mice exposed to hypoxia. Our findings revealed that the absence of NOD2 exacerbated hypoxia-induced PASMC proliferation, pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling, but had no effect on PASMC migration or contractility.
Project description:Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is upregulated in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) during hypoxia and may play a protective role in the response of the lung to hypoxia. Selective COX-2 inhibition may have detrimental pulmonary vascular consequences during hypoxia.To investigate the role of COX-2 in the pulmonary vascular response to hypoxia, we subjected wild-type and COX-2-deficient mice to a model of chronic normobaric hypoxia. COX-2-null mice developed severe pulmonary hypertension with exaggerated elevation of right ventricular systolic pressure, significant right ventricular hypertrophy, and striking vascular remodeling after hypoxia. Pulmonary vascular remodeling in COX-2-deficient mice was characterized by PASMC hypertrophy but not increased proliferation. Furthermore, COX-2-deficient mice had significant upregulation of the endothelin-1 receptor (ET(A)) in the lung after hypoxia. Similarly, selective pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 in wild-type mice exacerbated hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension and resulted in PASMC hypertrophy and increased ET(A) receptor expression in pulmonary arterioles. The absence of COX-2 in vascular smooth muscle cells during hypoxia in vitro augmented traction forces and enhanced contractility of an extracellular matrix. Treatment of COX-2-deficient PASMCs with iloprost, a prostaglandin I(2) analog, and prostaglandin E(2) abrogated the potent contractile response to hypoxia and restored the wild-type phenotype.Our findings reveal that hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling are exacerbated in the absence of COX-2 with enhanced ET(A) receptor expression and increased PASMC hypertrophy. COX-2-deficient PASMCs have a maladaptive response to hypoxia manifested by exaggerated contractility, which may be rescued by either COX-2-derived prostaglandin I(2) or prostaglandin E(2).
Project description:Hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?), an oxygen (O2)-sensitive transcription factor, mediates transcriptional responses to low-O2 tension states. Although acute hypoxia causes pulmonary vasoconstriction and chronic hypoxia can cause vascular remodeling and pulmonary hypertension, conflicting data exist on the role of HIF-1? in modulating pulmonary vascular tone.To investigate the role of smooth muscle cell (SMC)-specific HIF-1? in regulating pulmonary vascular tone.Mice with an SMC-specific deletion of HIF-1? (SM22?-HIF-1?(-/-)) were created to test the hypothesis that pulmonary artery SMC (PASMC) HIF-1? modulates pulmonary vascular tone and the response to hypoxia. SM22?-HIF-1?(-/-) mice exhibited significantly higher right ventricular systolic pressure compared with wild-type littermates under normoxia and with exposure to either acute or chronic hypoxia in the absence of histological evidence of accentuated vascular remodeling. Moreover, myosin light chain phosphorylation, a determinant of SMC tone, was higher in PASMCs isolated from SM22?-HIF-1?(-/-) mice compared with wild-type PASMCs, during both normoxia and after acute hypoxia. Further, overexpression of HIF-1? decreased myosin light chain phosphorylation in HIF-1?-null SMCs.In both normoxia and hypoxia, PASMC HIF-1? maintains low pulmonary vascular tone by decreasing myosin light chain phosphorylation. Compromised PASMC HIF-1? expression may contribute to the heightened vasoconstriction that characterizes pulmonary hypertension.
Project description:Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation stimulates systemic vascular and left ventricular remodeling. We hypothesized that MR contributes to pulmonary vascular and right ventricular (RV) remodeling of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We evaluated the efficacy of MR antagonism by spironolactone in two experimental PH models; mouse chronic hypoxia-induced PH (prevention model) and rat monocrotaline-induced PH (prevention and treatment models). Last, the biological function of the MR was analyzed in cultured distal pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). In hypoxic PH mice, spironolactone attenuated the increase in RV systolic pressure, pulmonary arterial muscularization, and RV fibrosis. In rat monocrotaline-induced PH (prevention arm), spironolactone attenuated pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary vascular remodeling. In the established disease (treatment arm), spironolactone decreased RV systolic pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance with no significant effect on histological measures of pulmonary vascular remodeling, or RV fibrosis. Spironolactone decreased RV cardiomyocyte size modestly with no significant effect on RV mass, systemic blood pressure, cardiac output, or body weight, suggesting a predominantly local pulmonary vascular effect. In distal PASMCs, MR was expressed and localized diffusely. Treatment with the MR agonist aldosterone, hypoxia, or platelet-derived growth factor promoted MR translocation to the nucleus, activated MR transcriptional function, and stimulated PASMC proliferation, while spironolactone blocked these effects. In summary, MR is active in distal PASMCs, and its antagonism prevents PASMC proliferation and attenuates experimental PH. These data suggest that MR is involved in the pathogenesis of PH via effects on PASMCs and that MR antagonism may represent a novel therapeutic target for this disease.
Project description:There is growing evidence that microRNAs play important roles in cellular responses to hypoxia and in pulmonary hypertensive vascular remodeling, but the exact molecular mechanisms involved are not fully elucidated. In this study, we identified miR-322 as one of the microRNAs induced in lungs of chronically hypoxic mice and rats. The expression of miR-322 was also upregulated in primary cultured rat pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC) in response to hypoxia. We demonstrated that HIF-1?, but not HIF-2?, transcriptionally upregulates the expression of miR-322 in hypoxia. Furthermore, miR-322 facilitated the accumulation of HIF-1? in the nucleus and promoted hypoxia-induced cell proliferation and migration. Direct targeting BMPR1a and smad5 by miR-322 was demonstrated in PASMCs suggesting that downregulation of BMP-Smad signaling pathway may be mediating the hypoxia-induced PASMC proliferation and migration. Our study implicates miR-322 in the hypoxic proliferative response of PASMCs suggesting that it may be playing a role in pulmonary vascular remodeling associated with pulmonary hypertension.
Project description:Increased muscularity of small pulmonary vessels, involving enhanced proliferation and migration of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), is a key component of the vascular remodeling underlying the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Stimuli such as growth factors and hypoxia induce PASMC alkalinization, proliferation, and migration through upregulation of the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger (NHE), inhibition of which prevents the development of hypoxia-induced vascular remodeling and PH. We wanted to explore whether NHE was also necessary for pathologic PASMC proliferation and migration in a model of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a severe form of PH not associated with persistent hypoxia. PASMCs were isolated from rats exposed to SU5416-hypoxia (SuHx) followed by return to normoxia and from vehicle controls. We measured resting intracellular pH (pHi) and NHE activity using the pH-sensitive fluorescent dye BCECF-AM. PASMC proliferation and migration were assessed using BrdU incorporation and transwell filters, respectively. NHE activity was increased in SuHx PASMCs, although resting pHi was unchanged. SuHx PASMCs also exhibited increased proliferation and migration relative to controls, which was attenuated in the setting of pharmacologic inhibition of NHE. Our findings suggest that increased NHE activity contributes to pathologic PASMC function in the SuHx model of PAH, although this effect does not appear to be mediated by global changes in pHi homeostasis.
Project description:Pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) migration is a key component of the vascular remodeling that occurs during the development of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension, although the mechanisms governing this phenomenon remain poorly understood. Aquaporin-1 (AQP1), an integral membrane water channel protein, has recently been shown to aid in migration of endothelial cells. Since AQP1 is expressed in certain types of vascular smooth muscle, we hypothesized that AQP1 would be expressed in PASMCs and would be required for migration in response to hypoxia. Using PCR and immunoblot techniques, we determined the expression of AQPs in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle and the effect of hypoxia on AQP levels, and we examined the role of AQP1 in hypoxia-induced migration in rat PASMCs using Transwell filter assays. Moreover, since the cytoplasmic tail of AQP1 contains a putative calcium binding site and an increase in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) is a hallmark of hypoxic exposure in PASMCs, we also determined whether the responses were Ca(2+) dependent. Results were compared with those obtained in aortic smooth muscle cells (AoSMCs). We found that although AQP1 was abundant in both PASMCs and AoSMCs, hypoxia selectively increased AQP1 protein levels, [Ca(2+)](i), and migration in PASMCs. Blockade of Ca(2+) entry through voltage-dependent Ca(2+) or nonselective cation channels prevented the hypoxia-induced increase in PASMC [Ca(2+)](i), AQP1 levels, and migration. Silencing AQP1 via siRNA also prevented hypoxia-induced migration of PASMCs. Our results suggest that hypoxia induces a PASMC-specific increase in [Ca(2+)](i) that results in increased AQP1 protein levels and cell migration.
Project description:Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is commonly associated with chronic hypoxemia in disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Prostacyclin analogs are widely used in the management of PAH patients; however, clinical efficacy and long-term tolerability of some prostacyclin analogs may be compromised by concomitant activation of the E-prostanoid 3 (EP3) receptor. Here, we found that EP3 expression is upregulated in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and human distal pulmonary arteries (PAs) in response to hypoxia. Either pharmacological inhibition of EP3 or Ep3 deletion attenuated both hypoxia and monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension and restrained extracellular matrix accumulation in PAs in rodent models. In a murine PAH model, Ep3 deletion in SMCs, but not endothelial cells, retarded PA medial thickness. Knockdown of EP3? and EP3?, but not EP3?, isoforms diminished hypoxia-induced TGF-?1 activation. Expression of either EP3? or EP3? in EP3-deficient PASMCs restored TGF-?1 activation in response to hypoxia. EP3?/? activation in PASMCs increased RhoA-dependent membrane type 1 extracellular matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) translocation to the cell surface, subsequently activating pro-MMP-2 and promoting TGF-?1 signaling. Activation or disruption of EP3 did not influence PASMC proliferation. Together, our results indicate that EP3 activation facilitates hypoxia-induced vascular remodeling and pulmonary hypertension in mice and suggest EP3 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for pulmonary hypertension.
Project description:Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a vascular remodeling disease with limited therapeutic options. Although exposed to stressful conditions, pulmonary artery (PA) smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) exhibit a "cancer-like" pro-proliferative and anti-apoptotic phenotype. HDAC6 is a cytoplasmic histone deacetylase regulating multiple pro-survival mechanisms and overexpressed in response to stress in cancer cells. Due to the similarities between cancer and PAH, we hypothesized that HDAC6 expression is increased in PAH-PASMCs to face stress allowing them to survive and proliferate, thus contributing to vascular remodeling in PAH. We found that HDAC6 is significantly up-regulated in lungs, distal PAs, and isolated PASMCs from PAH patients and animal models. Inhibition of HDAC6 reduced PAH-PASMC proliferation and resistance to apoptosis in vitro sparing control cells. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that HDAC6 maintains Ku70 in a hypoacetylated state, blocking the translocation of Bax to mitochondria and preventing apoptosis. In vivo, pharmacological inhibition of HDAC6 improved established PAH in two experimental models and can be safely given in combination with currently approved PAH therapies. Moreover, Hdac6 deficient mice were partially protected against chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Our study shows for the first time that HDAC6 is implicated in PAH development and represents a new promising target to improve PAH.
Project description:Sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) upregulation is associated with pathologic pulmonary vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), but the mechanisms controlling its expression are undefined. In this study, we sought to characterize the regulation of SphK1 expression by micro-RNAs (miRs). In silico analysis of the SphK1 3'-untranslated region identified several putative miR binding sites, with miR-1-3p (miR-1) being the most highly predicted target. Therefore we further investigated the role of miR-1 in modulating SphK1 expression and characterized its effects on the phenotype of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and the development of experimental pulmonary hypertension in vivo. Our results demonstrate that miR-1 is downregulated by hypoxia in PASMCs and can directly inhibit SphK1 expression. Overexpression of miR-1 in human PASMCs inhibits basal and hypoxia-induced proliferation and migration. Human PASMCs isolated from PAH patients exhibit reduced miR-1 expression. We also demonstrate that miR-1 is downregulated in mouse lung tissues during experimental hypoxia-mediated pulmonary hypertension (HPH), consistent with upregulation of SphK1. Furthermore, administration of miR-1 mimics in vivo prevented the development of HPH in mice and attenuated induction of SphK1 in PASMCs. These data reveal the importance of miR-1 in regulating SphK1 expression during hypoxia in PASMCs. A pivotal role is played by miR-1 in pulmonary vascular remodeling, including PASMC proliferation and migration, and its overexpression protects from the development of HPH in vivo. These studies improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension.
Project description:Background:Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is often characterized by cell proliferation and migration of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). LncRNA cancer susceptibility candidate 2 (CASC2) has been revealed to be involved in PASMC injury in hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. However, the exact molecular mechanisms whereby CASC2 regulates PASMC proliferation and migration are still incompletely understood. Methods:The expression levels of CASC2, miR-222 and inhibitor of growth 5 (ING5) were measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) or western blot, respectively. Cell proliferation was analyzed by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. Wound healing assay was used to analyze cell migration ability. The relationship between miR-222 and CASC2 or ING5 was confirmed using bioinformatics analysis, luciferase reporter assay and RNA immunoprecipitation assay. Results:CASC2 was down-regulated in hypoxia-induced PASMCs in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Functional experiments showed that CASC2 overexpression could reverse hypoxia-induced proliferation and migration of PASMCs. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that CASC2 acted as a competing endogenous RNA of miR-222, thereby regulating the expression of ING5, the downstream target of miR-222, in PASMCs. In addition, rescue assay suggested that the inhibition mediated by CASC2 of hypoxia-induced PASMC proliferation and migration could be attenuated by miR-222 inhibition or ING5 overexpression. Conclusion:CASC2 attenuated hypoxia-induced PASMC proliferation and migration by regulating the miR-222/ING5 axis to prevent vascular remodeling and the development of PAH, providing a novel insight and therapeutic strategy for hypoxia-induced PAH.