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.
Lung cancer; Neutrophils; A549 cells; Inflammation; Elastase; COX-2
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.
asymmetric dimethylarginine; cyclic guanosine monophosphate; hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction; nitric oxide
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.
ethics; pulmonary arterial hypertension; therapeutics; trial designs
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.
idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; mast cells; chymase
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.
cardiac output; Kaplan-Meier survival estimates; mean pulmonary arterial pressure; prognosis; pulmonary vascular resistance
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.
schistosomiasis; pulmonary hypertension; inflammation; experimental models
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.
Lung cancer; Infection; Endotoxin; Tumor proliferation; Inflammation
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.
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.
hypoxia; hypercapnia; acidosis; nitric oxide; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction
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.
Mast cells (MCs) are implicated in inflammation and tissue remodeling. Accumulation of lung MCs is described in pulmonary hypertension (PH); however, whether MC degranulation and c-kit, a tyrosine kinase receptor critically involved in MC biology, contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of PH has not been fully explored.
Pulmonary MCs of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) patients and monocrotaline-injected rats (MCT-rats) were examined by histochemistry and morphometry. Effects of the specific c-kit inhibitor PLX and MC stabilizer cromolyn sodium salt (CSS) were investigated in MCT-rats both by the preventive and therapeutic approaches. Hemodynamic and right ventricular hypertrophy measurements, pulmonary vascular morphometry and analysis of pulmonary MC localization/counts/activation were performed in animal model studies.
There was a prevalence of pulmonary MCs in IPAH patients and MCT-rats as compared to the donors and healthy rats, respectively. Notably, the perivascular MCs were increased and a majority of them were degranulated in lungs of IPAH patients and MCT-rats (p < 0.05 versus donor and control, respectively). In MCT-rats, the pharmacological inhibitions of MC degranulation and c-kit with CSS and PLX, respectively by a preventive approach (treatment from day 1 to 21 of MCT-injection) significantly attenuated right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) and right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH). Moreover, vascular remodeling, as evident from the significantly decreased muscularization and medial wall thickness of distal pulmonary vessels, was improved. However, treatments with CSS and PLX by a therapeutic approach (from day 21 to 35 of MCT-injection) neither improved hemodynamics and RVH nor vascular remodeling.
The accumulation and activation of perivascular MCs in the lungs are the histopathological features present in clinical (IPAH patients) and experimental (MCT-rats) PH. Moreover, the accumulation and activation of MCs in the lungs contribute to the development of PH in MCT-rats. Our findings reveal an important pathophysiological insight into the role of MCs in the pathogenesis of PH in MCT- rats.
Rationale: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive condition with a poor prognosis. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) signaling plays an important role in its pathobiology.
Objectives: To assess safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the PDGFR inhibitor imatinib in patients with PAH.
Methods: Patients with PAH in functional classes II–IV were enrolled in a 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Patients received imatinib (an inhibitor of PDGFR activity) 200 mg orally once daily (or placebo), which was increased to 400 mg if the initial dose was well tolerated. The primary endpoints were safety and change from baseline in the 6-minute-walk distance (6MWD). Secondary endpoints included hemodynamics and functional classification.
Measurements and Main Results: Fifty-nine patients enrolled (imatinib [n = 28]; placebo [n = 31]); 42 completed the study. Dropouts were equally matched between the two groups. In the intention-to-treat (ITT) population there was no significant change in the 6MWD (mean ± SD) in the imatinib versus placebo group (+22 ± 63 versus −1.0 ± 53 m). There was a significant decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance (imatinib −300 ± 347 versus placebo –78 ± 269 dynes · s · cm−5, P < 0.01) and increase in cardiac output (imatinib +0.6 ± 1.2 versus placebo −0.1 ± 0.9 L/min, P = 0.02). Serious adverse events occurred in 11 imatinib recipients (39%) and 7 placebo recipients (23%). Three deaths occurred in each group. Post hoc subgroup analyses suggest that patients with greater hemodynamic impairment may respond better than patients with less impairment.
Conclusions: These data from a Phase II study are consistent with imatinib being well tolerated in patients with PAH, and provide proof of concept for further studies evaluating its safety, tolerability, and efficacy in PAH.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00477269).
pulmonary hypertension; imatinib; exercise; hemodynamics
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare progressive pulmonary vascular disorder associated with vascular remodeling and right heart failure. Vascular remodeling involves numerous signaling cascades governing pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation, migration and differentiation. Glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3ß) is a serine/threonine kinase and can act as a downstream regulatory switch for numerous signaling pathways. Hence, we hypothesized that GSK3ß plays a crucial role in pulmonary vascular remodeling.
All experiments were done with lung tissue or isolated PASMCs in a well-established monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PAH rat model. The mRNA expression of Wnt ligands (Wnt1, Wnt3a, Wnt5a), upstream Wnt signaling regulator genes (Frizzled Receptors 1, 2 and secreted Frizzled related protein sFRP-1) and canonical Wnt intracellular effectors (GSK3ß, Axin1) were assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction and protein levels of GSK3ß, phospho-GSK3ß (ser 9) by western blotting and localization by immunohistochemistry. The role of GSK3ß in PASMCs proliferation was assessed by overexpression of wild-type GSK3ß (WT) and constitutively active GSK3ß S9A by [3H]-thymidine incorporation assay.
Increased levels of total and phosphorylated GSK3ß (inhibitory phosphorylation) were observed in lungs and PASMCs isolated from MCT-induced PAH rats compared to controls. Further, stimulation of MCT-PASMCs with growth factors induced GSK3ß inactivation. Most importantly, treatment with the PDGFR inhibitor, Imatinib, attenuated PDGF-BB and FCS induced GSK3ß phosphorylation. Increased expression of GSK3ß observed in lungs and PASMC isolated from MCT-induced PAH rats was confirmed to be clinically relevant as the same observation was identified in human iPAH lung explants. Overexpression of GSK3ß significantly increased MCT-PASMCs proliferation by regulating ERK phosphorylation. Constitutive activation of GSK3ß (GSK3ß S9A, 9th serine replaced to alanine) inhibited MCT-PASMCs proliferation by decreasing ERK phosphorylation.
This study supports a central role for GSK3ß in vascular remodeling processes and suggests a novel therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of PAH.
Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) modulate the cellular proliferation involved in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension (PH) by hydrolyzing cAMP and cGMP. The present study was designed to determine whether any of the recently identified PDEs (PDE7-PDE11) contribute to progressive pulmonary vascular remodeling in PH. All in vitro experiments were performed with lung tissue or pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) obtained from control rats or monocrotaline (MCT)-induced pulmonary hypertensive (MCT-PH) rats, and we examined the effects of the PDE10 inhibitor papaverine (Pap) and specific small interfering RNA (siRNA). In addition, papaverine was administrated to MCT-induced PH rats from day 21 to day 35 by continuous intravenous infusion to examine the in vivo effects of PDE10A inhibition. We found that PDE10A was predominantly present in the lung vasculature, and the mRNA, protein, and activity levels of PDE10A were all significantly increased in MCT PASMCs compared with control PASMCs. Papaverine and PDE10A siRNA induced an accumulation of intracellular cAMP, activated cAMP response element binding protein and attenuated PASMC proliferation. Intravenous infusion of papaverine in MCT-PH rats resulted in a 40%–50% attenuation of the effects on pulmonary hypertensive hemodynamic parameters and pulmonary vascular remodeling. The present study is the first to demonstrate a central role of PDE10A in progressive pulmonary vascular remodeling, and the results suggest a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of PH.
Our aim was to determine what proportion of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) has undertaken air travel contrary to the general medical advice and to characterize these patients according to disease severity and medical treatment. In cooperation with Pulmonale Hypertonie e.V., the German patient organization, a questionnaire was distributed. In total, 430 of 720 questionnaires were returned completed. Of the 179 patients who travelled at least once by air, the distribution of New York Heart Association functional classes I/ II/ III/ IV was 2/ 77/ 74/ 8, respectively; 83 patients were receiving monotherapy; 58 patients were receiving a combination of two or more therapies; 57 patients were on long-term ambulatory oxygen treatment; and 29 patients used supplemental oxygen while travelling. Overall, 20 adverse events were reported, mostly of mild to moderate severity (i.e., peripheral edema, dyspnea), with need of medical intervention in only 7 cases. The 251 patients who did not travel by air were, on average, in more advanced stages of disease and/or clinically unstable. In conclusion, a majority of patients (159 out of 179) did not experience any complications during or directly after the flight even though no special precautions were taken. Thus we conclude that for patients with PH in a stable clinical condition, air travel can be safe and well tolerated.
air travel; high altitude; hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction; pulmonary hypertension; safety
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) has been implicated in the pathobiology of vascular remodeling. The multikinase inhibitor imatinib that targets PDGF receptor (PDGFR), c-kit and Abl kinases, shows therapeutic efficacy against experimental pulmonary hypertension (PH); however, the role of PDGFR-b in experimental PH has not been examined by genetic approach. We investigated the chronic hypoxia-induced PH in mice carrying an activating point mutation of PDGFR-β (D849N) and evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of imatinib. In addition, we studied pulmonary global gene expression and confirmed the expression of identified genes by immunohistochemistry. Chronically hypoxic D849N mice developed PH and strong pulmonary vascular remodeling that was improved by imatinib (100 mg/kg/day) as evident from the significantly reduced right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy and muscularization of peripheral pulmonary arteries. Global gene expression analysis revealed that stromal cell derived factor SDF)-1α was significantly upregulated, which was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, an enhanced immunoreactivity for SDF-1α, PDGFR-β and CXCR4, the receptor for SDF-1α was localized to the α-smooth muscle cell (SMC) actin positive pulmonary vascular cells in hypoxic mice and patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). In conclusion, our findings substantiate the major role of PDGFR activation in pulmonary vascular remodeling by a genetic approach. Immunohistochemistry findings suggest a role for SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis in pulmonary vascular remodeling and point to a potential interaction between the chemokine SDF-1 and the growth factor PDGF signaling. Future studies designed to elucidate an interaction between the chemokine SDF-1 and the PDGF system may uncover novel therapeutic targets.
hypoxia; remodeling; PDGFR; SDF-1α; imatinib
Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) is an essential mechanism of the lung that matches blood perfusion to alveolar ventilation to optimize gas exchange. Recently we have demonstrated that acute but not sustained HPV is critically dependent on the classical transient receptor potential 6 (TRPC6) channel. However, the mechanism of TRPC6 activation during acute HPV remains elusive. We hypothesize that a diacylglycerol (DAG)-dependent activation of TRPC6 regulates acute HPV.
We investigated the effect of the DAG analog 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG) on normoxic vascular tone in isolated perfused and ventilated mouse lungs from TRPC6-deficient and wild-type mice. Moreover, the effects of OAG, the DAG kinase inhibitor R59949 and the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 on the strength of HPV were investigated compared to those on non-hypoxia-induced vasoconstriction elicited by the thromboxane mimeticum U46619.
OAG increased normoxic vascular tone in lungs from wild-type mice, but not in lungs from TRPC6-deficient mice. Under conditions of repetitive hypoxic ventilation, OAG as well as R59949 dose-dependently attenuated the strength of acute HPV whereas U46619-induced vasoconstrictions were not reduced. Like OAG, R59949 mimicked HPV, since it induced a dose-dependent vasoconstriction during normoxic ventilation. In contrast, U73122, a blocker of DAG synthesis, inhibited acute HPV whereas U73343, the inactive form of U73122, had no effect on HPV.
These findings support the conclusion that the TRPC6-dependency of acute HPV is induced via DAG.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is an unresolved clinical issue. Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are known therapeutic targets for various proliferative lung diseases. Lung PDE6 expression and function has received little or no attention. The present study aimed to characterize (i) PDE6 subunits expression in human lung, (ii) PDE6 subunits expression and alteration in IPF and (iii) functionality of the specific PDE6D subunit in alveolar epithelial cells (AECs).
PDE6 subunits expression in transplant donor (n = 6) and IPF (n = 6) lungs was demonstrated by real-time quantitative (q)RT-PCR and immunoblotting analysis. PDE6D mRNA and protein levels and PDE6G/H protein levels were significantly down-regulated in the IPF lungs. Immunohistochemical analysis showed alveolar epithelial localization of the PDE6 subunits. This was confirmed by qRT-PCR from human primary alveolar type (AT)II cells, demonstrating the down-regulation pattern of PDE6D in IPF-derived ATII cells. In vitro, PDE6D protein depletion was provoked by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in A549 AECs. PDE6D siRNA-mediated knockdown and an ectopic expression of PDE6D modified the proliferation rate of A549 AECs. These effects were mediated by increased intracellular cGMP levels and decreased ERK phosphorylation.
Collectively, we report previously unrecognized PDE6 expression in human lungs, significant alterations of the PDE6D and PDE6G/H subunits in IPF lungs and characterize the functional role of PDE6D in AEC proliferation.