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1.  Future Perspectives for the Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
Journal of the American College of Cardiology  2009;54(1 Suppl):S108-S117.
Over the past 2 decades, pulmonary arterial hypertension has evolved from a uniformly fatal condition to a chronic, manageable disease in many cases, the result of unparalleled development of new therapies and advances in early diagnosis. However, none of the currently available therapies is curative, so the search for new treatment strategies continues. With a deeper understanding of the genetics and the molecular mechanisms of pulmonary vascular disorders, we are now at the threshold of entering a new therapeutic era. Our working group addressed what can be expected in the near future. The topics span the understanding of genetic variations, novel antiproliferative treatments, the role of stem cells, the right ventricle as a therapeutic target, and strategies and challenges for the translation of novel experimental findings into clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4883573  PMID: 19555854
Treatment; Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension; PAH
2.  The Clinical Significance of HbA1c in Operable Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0152580.
Glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) has been proposed as an independent predictor of long-term prognosis in pulmonary arterial hypertension. However, the clinical relevance of HbA1c in patients with operable chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the clinical significance of HbA1c as a biomarker in CTEPH.
Prospectively, 102 patients underwent pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) in our national referral center between March 2013 and March 2014, of which after exclusion 45 patients were analyzed. HbA1c- levels, hemodynamic and exercise parameters were analyzed prior and one-year post-PEA.
45 patients (BMI: 27.3 ± 6.0 kg/m2; age: 62.7 ± 12.3 years) with a mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) of 43.6 ± 9.4 mmHg, a pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) of 712.1 ± 520.4 dyn*s/cm5, a cardiac index (CI) of 2.4 ± 0.5 l/min/m2 and a mean HbA1c-level of 39.8 ± 5.6 mmol/mol were included. One-year post-PEA pulmonary hemodynamic and functional status significantly improved in our cohort. Baseline HbA1c-levels were significantly associated with CI, right atrial pressure, peak oxygen uptake and the change of 6-minute walking distance using linear regression analysis. However, using logistic regression analysis baseline HbA1c-levels were not significantly associated with residual post-PEA PH.
This is the first prospective study to describe an association of HbA1c-levels with pulmonary hemodynamics and exercise capacity in operable CTEPH patients. Our preliminary results indicate that in these patients impaired glucose metabolism as assessed by HbA1c is of clinical significance. However, HbA1c failed as a predictor of the hemodynamic outcome one-year post-PEA.
PMCID: PMC4816563  PMID: 27031508
3.  Survival with sildenafil and inhaled iloprost in a cohort with pulmonary hypertension: an observational study 
Combination therapy is frequently used to treat patients with pulmonary hypertension but few studies have compared treatment regimens. This study examined the long-term effect of different combination regimens of inhaled iloprost and oral sildenafil on survival and disease progression.
This was a retrospective study of patients in the Giessen Pulmonary Hypertension Registry who received iloprost monotherapy followed by addition of sildenafil (iloprost/sildenafil), sildenafil monotherapy followed by addition of iloprost (sildenafil/iloprost), or upfront combination therapy (iloprost + sildenafil). The primary outcome was transplant-free survival (Kaplan–Meier analysis). When available, haemodynamic parameters and 6-minute-walk distance were evaluated.
Overall, 148 patients were included. Baseline characteristics were similar across treatment groups; however, the iloprost + sildenafil cohort had higher mean pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary arterial pressure than the others. Transplant-free survival differed significantly between groups (P = 0.007, log-rank test). Cumulative transplant-free survival was highest for patients who received iloprost/sildenafil (1 year survival: iloprost/sildenafil, 95.1 %; sildenafil/iloprost, 91.8 %; iloprost + sildenafil, 62.9 %); this group also remained on monotherapy significantly longer than the sildenafil/iloprost group (median 17.0 months vs 7.0 months, respectively; P = 0.004). Compared with pre-treatment values, mean 6-minute-walk distance increased significantly for all groups 3 months after beginning combination therapy.
In this observational study of patients with pulmonary hypertension receiving combination therapy with iloprost and sildenafil, cumulative transplant-free survival was highest in those who received iloprost monotherapy initially. However, owing to the size and retrospective design of this study, further research is needed before making firm treatment recommendations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12890-015-0164-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4709958  PMID: 26753921
Combination therapy; Iloprost; Sildenafil; Pulmonary hypertension; Giessen pulmonary hypertension registry
4.  Immune and Inflammatory Cell Composition of Human Lung Cancer Stroma 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0139073.
Recent studies indicate that the abnormal microenvironment of tumors may play a critical role in carcinogenesis, including lung cancer. We comprehensively assessed the number of stromal cells, especially immune/inflammatory cells, in lung cancer and evaluated their infiltration in cancers of different stages, types and metastatic characteristics potential. Immunohistochemical analysis of lung cancer tissue arrays containing normal and lung cancer sections was performed. This analysis was combined with cyto-/histomorphological assessment and quantification of cells to classify/subclassify tumors accurately and to perform a high throughput analysis of stromal cell composition in different types of lung cancer. In human lung cancer sections we observed a significant elevation/infiltration of total-T lymphocytes (CD3+), cytotoxic-T cells (CD8+), T-helper cells (CD4+), B cells (CD20+), macrophages (CD68+), mast cells (CD117+), mononuclear cells (CD11c+), plasma cells, activated-T cells (MUM1+), B cells, myeloid cells (PD1+) and neutrophilic granulocytes (myeloperoxidase+) compared with healthy donor specimens. We observed all of these immune cell markers in different types of lung cancers including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, adenosquamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, papillary adenocarcinoma, metastatic adenocarcinoma, and bronchioloalveolar carcinoma. The numbers of all tumor-associated immune cells (except MUM1+ cells) in stage III cancer specimens was significantly greater than those in stage I samples. We observed substantial stage-dependent immune cell infiltration in human lung tumors suggesting that the tumor microenvironment plays a critical role during lung carcinogenesis. Strategies for therapeutic interference with lung cancer microenvironment should consider the complexity of its immune cell composition.
PMCID: PMC4587668  PMID: 26413839
5.  Cigarette Smoke-Induced Emphysema and Pulmonary Hypertension Can Be Prevented by Phosphodiesterase 4 and 5 Inhibition in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129327.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a widespread disease, with no curative therapies available. Recent findings suggest a key role of NO and sGC-cGMP signaling for the pathogenesis of the disease. Previous data suggest a downregulation/inactivation of the cGMP producing soluble guanylate cyclase, and sGC stimulation prevented cigarette smoke-induced emphysema and pulmonary hypertension (PH) in mice. We thus aimed to investigate if the inhibition of the cGMP degrading phosphodiesterase (PDE)5 has similar effects. Results were compared to the effects of a PDE 4 inhibitor (cAMP elevating) and a combination of both.
C57BL6/J mice were chronically exposed to cigarette smoke and in parallel either treated with Tadalafil (PDE5 inhibitor), Piclamilast (PDE4 inhibitor) or both. Functional measurements (lung compliance, hemodynamics) and structural investigations (alveolar and vascular morphometry) as well as the heart ratio were determined after 6 months of tobacco smoke exposure. In addition, the number of alveolar macrophages in the respective lungs was counted.
Preventive treatment with Tadalafil, Piclamilast or a combination of both almost completely prevented the development of emphysema, the increase in lung compliance, tidal volume, structural remodeling of the lung vasculature, right ventricular systolic pressure, and right ventricular hypertrophy induced by cigarette smoke exposure. Single, but not combination treatment prevented or reduced smoke-induced increase in alveolar macrophages.
Cigarette smoke-induced emphysema and PH could be prevented by inhibition of the phosphodiesterases 4 and 5 in mice.
PMCID: PMC4461257  PMID: 26058042
6.  Acute effects of riociguat in borderline or manifest pulmonary hypertension associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Pulmonary Circulation  2015;5(2):296-304.
Riociguat is the first oral soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator shown to improve pulmonary hemodynamics in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (PH). This pilot study assessed the impact of a single dose of riociguat on hemodynamics, gas exchange, and lung function in patients with PH associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Adults with COPD-associated borderline or manifest PH (pulmonary vascular resistance > 270 dyn·s·cm−5, mean pulmonary artery pressure ≥ 23 mmHg, ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] to forced vital capacity < 70%, and partial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood > 50 and ≤ 55 mmHg, respectively) received riociguat 1 or 2.5 mg during right heart catheterization. Twenty-two patients completed the study (11 men, 11 women, aged 56–82 years; 1-mg group: n = 10 [mean FEV1: 43.1%]; 2.5-mg group: n = 12 [mean FEV1: 41.2%]). Riociguat caused significant improvements (P < 0.01) from baseline in mean pulmonary artery pressure (1 mg: −3.60 mmHg [−11.44%]; 2.5 mg: −4.83 mmHg [−14.76%]) and pulmonary vascular resistance (1 mg: −58.32 dyn·s·cm−5 [−15.35%]; 2.5 mg: −123.8 dyn·s·cm−5 [−32.96%]). No relevant changes in lung function or gas exchange were observed. Single doses of riociguat were well tolerated and showed promising hemodynamic effects without untoward effects on gas exchange or lung function in patients with COPD-associated PH. Placebo-controlled studies of chronic treatment with riociguat are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4449240  PMID: 26064454
clinical trial; hemodynamics; multiple inert-gas elimination technique; pulmonary gas exchange; soluble guanylate cyclase
7.  Sildenafil versus nitric oxide for acute vasodilator testing in pulmonary arterial hypertension 
Pulmonary Circulation  2015;5(2):305-312.
Vasoreactivity testing with inhaled NO is recommended for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) because of its therapeutic and prognostic value. Sildenafil has acute pulmonary vasodilating properties, but its diagnostic and prognostic impact in PAH is unknown. Our objective was to compare acute vasodilating responses to sildenafil and those to NO during right heart catheterization and also their prognostic values in patients with PAH. Ninety-nine patients with idiopathic PAH and 99 with associated PAH underwent vasoreactivity testing with NO and sildenafil. Only mild adverse effects of sildenafil, in the form of hypotension, were observed, at a rate of 4.5%. The acute responder rate was 8.1% for NO and 11.6% for sildenafil. The NO-induced response in mean pulmonary arterial pressure and cardiac output correlated with the response to sildenafil. Thirteen patients were long-term responders to calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and 3 of them were correctly identified by acute vasoreactivity test with both drugs. The specificity of the vasoreactivity test for identifying long-term CCB responders was 88.9% for NO and 85.1% for sildenafil testing. A trend toward better survival was found in sildenafil and NO responders, compared with nonresponders. Use of sildenafil for vasoreactivity testing is safe. Sildenafil may be useful as alternative vasoreactivity-testing agent, identifying the same number of long-term CCB responders as NO. However, NO seems to be a more ideal testing drug because of its pharmacologic properties. Moreover, sildenafil vasoreactivity testing might contribute to an improved estimate of prognosis among patients with PAH.
PMCID: PMC4449241  PMID: 26064455
pulmonary arterial hypertension; vasoreactivity testing; nitric oxide; sildenafil
8.  Immunomodulation by lipid emulsions in pulmonary inflammation: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):226.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a major cause of mortality in intensive care units. As there is rising evidence about immuno-modulatory effects of lipid emulsions required for parenteral nutrition of ARDS patients, we sought to investigate whether infusion of conventional soybean oil (SO)-based or fish oil (FO)-based lipid emulsions rich in either n-6 or n-3 fatty acids, respectively, may influence subsequent pulmonary inflammation.
In a randomized controlled, single-blinded pilot study, forty-two volunteers received SO, FO, or normal saline for two days. Thereafter, volunteers inhaled pre-defined doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) followed by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) 8 or 24 h later. In the murine model of LPS-induced lung injury a possible involvement of resolvin E1 (RvE1) receptor ChemR23 was investigated. Wild-type and ChemR23 knockout mice were infused with both lipid emulsions and challenged with LPS intratracheally.
In volunteers receiving lipid emulsions, the fatty acid profile in the plasma and in isolated neutrophils and monocytes was significantly changed. Adhesion of isolated monocytes to endothelial cells was enhanced after infusion of SO and reduced by FO, however, no difference of infusion on an array of surface adhesion molecules was detected. In neutrophils and monocytes, LPS-elicited generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines increased in the SO and decreased in the FO group. LPS inhalation in volunteers evoked an increase in neutrophils in BAL fluids, which decreased faster in the FO group. While TNF-α in the BAL was increased in the SO group, IL-8 decreased faster in the FO group. In the murine model of lung injury, effects of FO similar to the volunteer group observed in wild-type mice were abrogated in ChemR23 knockout mice.
After infusion of conventional lipid emulsions, leukocytes exhibited increased adhesive and pro-inflammatory features. In contrast, FO-based lipid emulsions reduced monocyte adhesion, decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, and neutrophil recruitment into the alveolar space possibly mediated by ChemR23-signaling. Lipid emulsions thus exert differential effects in human volunteers and mice in vivo.
Trial registration
DRKS00006131 at the German Clinical Trial Registry, 2014/05/14
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13054-015-0933-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4438480  PMID: 25962383
9.  Interactions between neutrophils and non-small cell lung cancer cells: enhancement of tumor proliferation and inflammatory mediator synthesis 
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy  2014;63(12):1297-1306.
The inflammatory tumor microenvironment plays a crucial role in tumor progression. In lung cancer, both bacterial infections and neutrophilia are associated with a poor prognosis. In this study, we characterized the effect of isolated human neutrophils on proliferation of the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line A549 and analyzed the impact of A549–neutrophil interactions on inflammatory mediator generation in naive and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-exposed cell cultures. Co-incubation of A549 cells with neutrophils induced proliferation of resting and LPS-exposed A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In transwell-experiments, this effect was demonstrated to depend on direct cell-to-cell contact. This pro-proliferative effect of neutrophils on A549 cells could be attenuated by inhibition of neutrophil elastase activity, but not by oxygen radical neutralization. Correspondingly, neutrophil elastase secretion, but not respiratory burst, was specifically enhanced in co-cultures of A549 cells and neutrophils. Moreover, interference with COX-2 activity by indomethacin or the specific COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 also blunted the increased A549 proliferation in the presence of neutrophils. In parallel, a massive amplification of COX-2-dependent prostaglandin E2 synthesis was detected in A549–neutrophil co-cultures. These findings suggest that direct cell–cell interactions between neutrophils and tumor cells cause release of inflammatory mediators which, in turn, may enhance tumor growth in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4255085  PMID: 25186613
Lung cancer; Neutrophils; A549 cells; Inflammation; Elastase; COX-2
10.  Effects of Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase–1 Overexpression on the Response of the Pulmonary Vasculature to Hypoxia 
Acute and sustained hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV), as well as chronic pulmonary hypertension (PH), is modulated by nitric oxide (NO). NO synthesis can be decreased by asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), which is degraded by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase–1 (DDAH1). We investigated the effects of DDAH1 overexpression (DDAH1tg) on HPV and chronic hypoxia–induced PH. HPV was measured during acute (10 min) and sustained (3 h) hypoxia in isolated mouse lungs. Chronic PH was induced by the exposure of mice to 4 weeks of hypoxia. ADMA and cyclic 3′,5′-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) were determined by ELISA, and NO generation was determined by chemiluminescence. DDAH1 overexpression exerted no effects on acute HPV. However, DDAH1tg mice showed decreased sustained HPV compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Concomitantly, ADMA was decreased, and concentrations of NO and cGMP were significantly increased in DDAH1tg. The administration of either Nω-nitro-l-arginine or 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo [4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one potentiated sustained HPV and partly abolished the differences in sustained HPV between WT and DDAH1tg mice. The overexpression of DDAH1 exerted no effect on the development of chronic hypoxia–induced PH. DDAH1 overexpression selectively decreased the sustained phase of HPV, partly via activation of the NO–cGMP pathway. Thus, increased ADMA concentrations modulate sustained HPV, but not acute HPV or chronic hypoxia–induced PH.
PMCID: PMC3824049  PMID: 23642043
asymmetric dimethylarginine; cyclic guanosine monophosphate; hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction; nitric oxide
11.  New Trial Designs and Potential Therapies for Pulmonary Artery Hypertension 
A greater understanding of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology of pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) has led to significant advances, but the disease remains fatal. Treatment options are neither universally available nor always effective, underscoring the need for development of novel therapies and therapeutic strategies. Clinical trials to date have provided evidence of efficacy, but were limited in evaluating the scope and duration of treatment effects. Numerous potential targets in varied stages of drug development exist, in addition to novel uses of familiar therapies. The pursuit of gene and cell-based therapy continues, and device use to help acute deterioration and chronic management is emerging. This rapid surge of drug development has led to multicenter pivotal clinical trials and has resulted in novel ethical and global clinical trial concerns. This paper will provide an overview of the opportunities and challenges that await the development of novel treatments for PAH.
PMCID: PMC4117578  PMID: 24355645
ethics; pulmonary arterial hypertension; therapeutics; trial designs
12.  Histological characterization of mast cell chymase in patients with pulmonary hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Pulmonary Circulation  2014;4(1):128-136.
Our previous findings demonstrated an increase in pulmonary mast cells (MCs) in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). Also, literature suggests a potential role for MCs in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, a comprehensive investigation of lungs from patients is still needed. We systematically investigated the presence/expression of MCs/MC chymase in the lungs of IPAH and COPD patients by (immuno)histochemistry and subsequent quantification. We found that total and perivascular chymase-positive MCs were significantly higher in IPAH patients than in donors. In addition, chymase-positive MCs were located in proximity to regions with prominent expression of big-endothelin-1 in the pulmonary vessels of IPAH patients. Total and perivascular MCs around resistant vessels were augmented and a significant majority of them were degranulated (activated) in COPD patients. While the total chymase-positive MC count tended to increase in COPD patients, the perivascular number was significantly enhanced in all vessel sizes analyzed. Surprisingly, MC and chymase-positive MC numbers positively correlated with better lung function in COPD. Our findings suggest that activated MCs, possibly by releasing chymase, may contribute to pulmonary vascular remodeling in IPAH. Pulmonary MCs/chymase may have compartment-specific (vascular vs. airway) functions in COPD. Future studies should elucidate the mechanisms of MC accumulation and the role of MC chymase in pathologies of these severe lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC4070756  PMID: 25006428
idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; mast cells; chymase
13.  Short-term improvement in pulmonary hemodynamics is strongly predictive of long-term survival in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension 
Pulmonary Circulation  2013;3(3):523-532.
Hemodynamic measurements provide important parameters for determining prognosis and therapy in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Current guidelines do not incorporate the possible predictive value of individual changes in hemodynamic variables during the disease time course, and there is no consensus about the time point for hemodynamic reevaluation. We aimed to assess the long-term prognostic value of short-term changes in hemodynamic parameters. The study included 122 patients with PAH from the Giessen Pulmonary Hypertension Registry who underwent hemodynamic evaluation at baseline and at 16 weeks (±2.5 standard deviations [SDs]; range: 4–29 weeks) after initial assessment. At baseline, mean pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) was 1,109 dyn s cm−5, and 82% of patients were in World Health Organization (WHO) functional class III or IV. Fifty patients died, and 2 underwent lung transplantation during long-term observation (≤10 years; mean: 4.7 years). Kaplan-Meier estimates for transplant-free survival were 93.3%, 76.1%, 57.8%, and 53.1% at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years, respectively. When assigned to prognostic groups, improvements in cardiac output of >0.22 L min−1 (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.05; ) and a decrease in PVR of >176 dyn s cm−5 (HR: 1.89; ) at 4–29 weeks were associated with long-term transplant-free survival. Changes in mean pulmonary arterial pressure did not predict long-term prognosis. Of 2 noninvasive parameters assessed in this selected patient group, change in WHO functional class, but not in 6-minute walk distance, predicted long-term prognosis. Short-term assessment of changes in hemodynamic parameters at after initial invasive evaluation is useful to determine long-term prognosis in patients with PAH.
PMCID: PMC4070816  PMID: 24618538
cardiac output; Kaplan-Meier survival estimates; mean pulmonary arterial pressure; prognosis; pulmonary vascular resistance
15.  Schistosomiasis causes remodeling of pulmonary vessels in the lung in a heterogeneous localized manner: Detailed study 
Pulmonary Circulation  2013;3(2):356-362.
Schistosomiasis is a global parasitic disease with high impact on public health in tropical areas. Schistosomiasis is a well-described cause of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The exact pathogenesis is still unclear, though inflammatory mechanisms are suspected. Another unknown is whether the changes in the pulmonary vasculature are generalized or localized. We studied 13 mice infected with cercariae for 12 weeks compared with 10 control mice. In our model, we observed that the liver was a target during infection and was enlarged more than two-fold after infection. However, right heart hypertrophy as measured by RV/(LV + S) ratio was not observed at this time point. Moreover, we noticed that 72% of the sampled lobes (92% of the lungs) harvested from these animals costained evidence of granulomatous changes, secondary to egg deposition. We systemically mapped the distribution of granulomatous lesions in right lung lobes (n = 43) of infected mice. We observed that the distribution of the granulomatous lesions was heterogeneous. Remodeled pulmonary vessels were seen in 26% of the lobes (46% of the lungs) and were observed only in close proximity to the granuloma. No remodeling was observed in the absence of granulomas. These findings support the view that pulmonary vascular remodeling is caused by the local presence of granulomas in PAH associated with schistosomiasis. The heterogeneous nature of the remodeling partly explains why many patients with schistosomiasis do not develop pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3757830  PMID: 24015336
schistosomiasis; pulmonary hypertension; inflammation; experimental models
16.  Smoking: Is it a risk factor for pulmonary vascular diseases? 
Pulmonary Circulation  2012;2(4):395-396.
PMCID: PMC3555409  PMID: 23372923
17.  Endotoxin induces proliferation of NSCLC in vitro and in vivo: role of COX-2 and EGFR activation 
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy  2012;62(2):309-320.
Lung cancer is frequently complicated by pulmonary infections which may impair prognosis of this disease. Therefore, we investigated the effect of bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on tumor proliferation in vitro in the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line A549, ex vivo in a tissue culture model using human NSCLC specimens and in vivo in the A549 adenocarcinoma mouse model. LPS induced a time- and dose-dependent increase in proliferation of A549 cells as quantified by MTS activity and cell counting. In parallel, an increased expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 was detected both in A549 cells and in ex vivo human NSCLC tissue. Large amounts of COX-2-derived prostaglandin (PG)E2 were secreted from LPS-stimulated A549 cells. Pharmacological interventions revealed that the proliferative effect of LPS was dependent on CD14 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)4. Moreover, blocking of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) also decreased LPS-induced proliferation of A549 cells. Inhibition of COX-2 activity in A549 cells severely attenuated both PGE2 release and proliferation in response to LPS. Synthesis of PGE2 was also reduced by inhibiting CD14, TLR4 and EGFR in A549 cells. The proliferative effect of LPS on A549 cells could be reproduced in the A549 adenocarcinoma mouse model with enhancement of tumor growth and Ki-67 expression in implanted tumors. In summary, LPS induces proliferation of NSCLC cells in vitro, ex vivo in human NSCLC specimen and in vivo in a mouse model of NSCLC. Pulmonary infection may thus directly induce tumor progression in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3569588  PMID: 22923191
Lung cancer; Infection; Endotoxin; Tumor proliferation; Inflammation
18.  The Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Stimulator Riociguat Ameliorates Pulmonary Hypertension Induced by Hypoxia and SU5416 in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43433.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3422306  PMID: 22912874
19.  Effects of hypercapnia and NO synthase inhibition in sustained hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):7.
Acute respiratory disorders may lead to sustained alveolar hypoxia with hypercapnia resulting in impaired pulmonary gas exchange. Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) optimizes gas exchange during local acute (0-30 min), as well as sustained (> 30 min) hypoxia by matching blood perfusion to alveolar ventilation. Hypercapnia with acidosis improves pulmonary gas exchange in repetitive conditions of acute hypoxia by potentiating HPV and preventing pulmonary endothelial dysfunction. This study investigated, if the beneficial effects of hypercapnia with acidosis are preserved during sustained hypoxia as it occurs, e.g in permissive hypercapnic ventilation in intensive care units. Furthermore, the effects of NO synthase inhibitors under such conditions were examined.
We employed isolated perfused and ventilated rabbit lungs to determine the influence of hypercapnia with or without acidosis (pH corrected with sodium bicarbonate), and inhibitors of endothelial as well as inducible NO synthase on acute or sustained HPV (180 min) and endothelial permeability.
In hypercapnic acidosis, HPV was intensified in sustained hypoxia, in contrast to hypercapnia without acidosis when HPV was amplified during both phases. L-NG-Nitroarginine (L-NNA), a non-selective NO synthase inhibitor, enhanced acute as well as sustained HPV under all conditions, however, the amplification of sustained HPV induced by hypercapnia with or without acidosis compared to normocapnia disappeared. In contrast 1400 W, a selective inhibitor of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), decreased HPV in normocapnia and hypercapnia without acidosis at late time points of sustained HPV and selectively reversed the amplification of sustained HPV during hypercapnia without acidosis. Hypoxic hypercapnia without acidosis increased capillary filtration coefficient (Kfc). This increase disappeared after administration of 1400 W.
Hypercapnia with and without acidosis increased HPV during conditions of sustained hypoxia. The increase of sustained HPV and endothelial permeability in hypoxic hypercapnia without acidosis was iNOS dependent.
PMCID: PMC3306743  PMID: 22292558
hypoxia; hypercapnia; acidosis; nitric oxide; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction
25.  Therapeutic efficacy of TBC3711 in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):87.
Endothelin-1 signalling plays an important role in pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension. Although different endothelin-A receptor antagonists are developed, a novel therapeutic option to cure the disease is still needed. This study aims to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of the selective endothelin-A receptor antagonist TBC3711 in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.
Monocrotaline-injected male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized and treated orally from day 21 to 35 either with TBC3711 (Dose: 30 mg/kg body weight/day) or placebo. Echocardiographic measurements of different hemodynamic and right-heart hypertrophy parameters were performed. After day 35, rats were sacrificed for invasive hemodynamic and right-heart hypertrophy measurements. Additionally, histologic assessment of pulmonary vascular and right-heart remodelling was performed.
The novel endothelin-A receptor antagonist TBC3711 significantly attenuated monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension, as evident from improved hemodynamics and right-heart hypertrophy in comparison with placebo group. In addition, muscularization and medial wall thickness of distal pulmonary vessels were ameliorated. The histologic evaluation of the right ventricle showed a significant reduction in fibrosis and cardiomyocyte size, suggesting an improvement in right-heart remodelling.
The results of this study suggest that the selective endothelin-A receptor antagonist TBC3711 demonstrates therapeutic benefit in rats with established pulmonary hypertension, thus representing a useful therapeutic approach for treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3141422  PMID: 21699729

Results 1-25 (52)