Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive disorder characterized by an increase in pulmonary artery pressure and structural changes in the pulmonary vasculature. Several observations indicate that growth factors play a key role in PH by modulating pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PA-SMC) function. In rats, established monocrotaline-induced PH (MCT-PH) can be reversed by blocking platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGF-R), epidermal growth factor receptors (EGF-R), or fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGF-R). All these receptors belong to the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family.
Methods and Results
We evaluated whether RTK blockade by the nonspecific growth factor inhibitor, suramin, reversed advanced MCT-PH in rats via its effects on growth-factor signaling pathways. We found that suramin inhibited RTK and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in cultured human PA-SMCs. Suramin inhibited PA-SMC proliferation induced by serum, PDGF, FGF2, or EGF in
vitro and ex
vivo. Treatment with suramin from day 1 to day 21 after monocrotaline injection attenuated PH development, as shown by lower values for pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, and distal vessel muscularization on day 21 compared to control rats. Treatment with suramin from day 21 to day 42 after monocrotaline injection reversed established PH, thereby normalizing the pulmonary artery pressure values and vessel structure. Suramin treatment suppressed PA-SMC proliferation and attenuated both the inflammatory response and the deposition of collagen.
RTK blockade by suramin can prevent MCT-PH and reverse established MCT-PH in rats. This study suggests that an anti-RTK strategy that targets multiple RTKs could be useful in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
To assess activation of the inflammatory transcription factor NF-kappa B (NF-κB) in human idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Idiopathic PAH is a severe progressive disease characterized by pulmonary vascular remodeling and excessive proliferation of vascular cells. Increasing evidence indicates that inflammation is important in disease pathophysiology.
NF-κB-p65 and CD68, CD20 and CD45 were measured by immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy on lung specimens from patients with idiopathic PAH (n = 12) and controls undergoing lung surgery (n = 14). Clinical data were recorded for all patients including invasive pulmonary hemodynamics for the PAH patients. Immunohistochemical images were analyzed by blinded observers to include standard pulmonary vascular morphometry; absolute macrophage counts/mm2 and p65-positivity (p65+) using composite images and image-analysis software; and cytoplasmic:nuclear p65+ of individual pulmonary arterial endothelial and smooth muscle cells (PASMC) in 10–20 pulmonary arteries or arterioles per subject. The expression of ET-1 and CCL5 (RANTES) in whole lung was determined by RT-qPCR.
Macrophage numbers were increased in idiopathic PAH versus controls (49.0±4.5 vs. 7.95±1.9 macrophages/100 mm2, p<0.0001): these macrophages demonstrated more nuclear p65+ than in macrophages from controls (16.9±2.49 vs. 3.5±1.25%, p<0.001). An increase in p65+ was also seen in perivascular lymphocytes in patients with PAH. Furthermore, NF-κB activation was increased in pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (62.3±2.9 vs. 14.4±3.8, p<0.0001) and PASMC (22.6±2.3 vs. 11.2±2.0, p<0.001) in patients with PAH versus controls, with similar findings in arterioles. Gene expression of both ET-1 mRNA ((0.213±0.069 vs. 1.06±0.23, p<0.01) and CCL5 (RANTES) (0.16±0.045 vs. 0.26±0.039, p<0.05) was increased in whole lung homogenates from patients with PAH.
NF-κB is activated in pulmonary macrophages, lymphocytes, endothelial and PASMC in patients with end-stage idiopathic PAH. Future research should determine whether NF-κB activation is a driver or bystander of pulmonary vascular inflammation and if the former, its potential role as a therapeutic target.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic and progressive disease leading to right heart failure and ultimately death if untreated. The first classification of PH was proposed in 1973. In 2008, the fourth World Symposium on PH held in Dana Point (California, USA) revised previous classifications. Currently, PH is devided into five subgroups. Group 1 includes patients suffering from idiopathic or familial PAH with or without germline mutations. Patients with a diagnosis of PAH should systematically been screened regarding to underlying mutations of BMPR2 gene (bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2) or more rarely of ACVRL1 (activine receptor-like kinase type 1), ENG (endogline) or Smad8 genes. Pulmonary veno occusive disease and pulmonary capillary hemagiomatosis are individualized and designated as clinical group 1'. Group 2 'Pulmonary hypertension due to left heart diseases' is divided into three sub-groups: systolic dysfonction, diastolic dysfonction and valvular dysfonction. Group 3 'Pulmonary hypertension due to respiratory diseases' includes a heterogenous subgroup of respiratory diseases like PH due to pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, lung emphysema or interstitial lung disease for exemple. Group 4 includes chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension without any distinction of proximal or distal forms. Group 5 regroup PH patients with unclear multifactorial mechanisms. Invasive hemodynamic assessment with right heart catheterization is requested to confirm the definite diagnosis of PH showing a resting mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP) of ≥ 25 mmHg and a normal pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) of ≤ 15 mmHg. The assessment of PCWP may allow the distinction between pre-capillary and post-capillary PH (PCWP > 15 mmHg). Echocardiography is an important tool in the management of patients with underlying suspicion of PH. The European Society of Cardiology and the European Respiratory Society (ESC-ERS) guidelines specify its role, essentially in the screening proposing criteria for estimating the presence of PH mainly based on tricuspid regurgitation peak velocity and systolic artery pressure (sPAP). The therapy of PAH consists of non-specific drugs including oral anticoagulation and diuretics as well as PAH specific therapy. Diuretics are one of the most important treatment in the setting of PH because right heart failure leads to fluid retention, hepatic congestion, ascites and peripheral edema. Current recommendations propose oral anticoagulation aiming for targeting an International Normalized Ratio (INR) between 1.5-2.5. Target INR for patients displaying chronic thromboembolic PH is between 2–3. Better understanding in pathophysiological mechanisms of PH over the past quarter of a century has led to the development of medical therapeutics, even though no cure for PAH exists. Several specific therapeutic agents were developed for the medical management of PAH including prostanoids (epoprostenol, trepoprostenil, iloprost), endothelin receptor antagonists (bosentan, ambrisentan) and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (sildenafil, tadalafil). This review discusses the current state of art regarding to epidemiologic aspects of PH, diagnostic approaches and the current classification of PH. In addition, currently available specific PAH therapy is discussed as well as future treatments.
Severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) associated with vascular remodeling is a long-term complication of HIV infection (HIV-PH) affecting 1/200 infected individuals vs. 1/200,000 frequency in the uninfected population. Factors accounting for increased PH susceptibility in HIV-infected individuals are unknown. Rhesus macaques infected with chimeric SHIVnef virions but not with SIV display PH-like pulmonary vascular remodeling suggesting that HIV-Nef is associated with PH; these monkeys showed changes in nef sequences that correlated with pathogenesis after passage in vivo. We further examined whether HIV-nef alleles in HIV-PH subjects have signature sequences associated with the disease phenotype. We evaluated specimens from participants with and without HIV-PH from European Registries and validated results with samples collected as part of the Lung-HIV Studies in San Francisco. We found that 10 polymorphisms in nef were overrepresented in blood cells or lung tissue specimens from European HIV-PH individuals but significantly less frequent in HIV-infected individuals without PH. These polymorphisms mapped to known functional domains in Nef. In the validation cohort, 7/10 polymorphisms in the HIV-nef gene were confirmed; these polymorphisms arose independently from viral load, CD4+ T cell counts, length of infection, and antiretroviral therapy status. Two out of 10 polymorphisms were previously reported in macaques with PH-like pulmonary vascular remodeling. Cloned recombinant Nef proteins from clinical samples down-regulated CD4, suggesting that these primary isolates are functional. This study offers new insights into the association between Nef polymorphisms in functional domains and the HIV-PH phenotype. The utility of these polymorphisms as predictors of PH should be examined in a larger population.
Variable expression is one aspect of the heterogeneity of asthma. We aimed to define a variable pattern, which is relevant in general health epidemiological cohorts. Our objectives were to assess whether: 1) asthma patterns defined using simple asthma questions through repeated measurements could reflect disease variability 2) these patterns may further be classified according to asthma severity/control. Among 70,428 French women, we used seven questionnaires (1992–2005) and a comprehensive reimbursement database (2004–2009) to define three reliable asthma patterns based on repeated positive answers to the ever asthma attack question: “never asthma” (n = 64,061); “inconsistent” (“yes” followed by “no”, n = 3,514); “consistent” (fully consistent positive answers, n = 2,853). The “Inconsistent” pattern was related to both long-term (childhood-onset asthma with remission in adulthood) and short-term (reported asthma attack in the last 12 months, associated with asthma medication) asthma variability, showing that repeated questions are relevant markers of the variable expression of asthma. Furthermore, in this pattern, the number of positive responses (1992–2005) predicted asthma drug consumption in subsequent years, a marker of disease severity. The “Inconsistent” pattern is a phenotype that may capture the variable expression of asthma. Repeated answers, even to a simple question, are too often neglected.
Obliteration of the vascular lumen by endothelial cell growth is a hallmark of many forms of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension. Copper plays a significant role in the control of endothelial cell proliferation in cancer and wound-healing. We sought to determine whether angioproliferation in rats with experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension and pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell proliferation in humans depend on the proangiogenic action of copper. A copper-depleted diet prevented, and copper chelation with tetrathiomolybdate reversed, the development of severe experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension. The copper chelation–induced reopening of obliterated vessels was caused by caspase-independent apoptosis, reduced vessel wall cell proliferation, and a normalization of vessel wall structure. No evidence was found for a role of super oxide–1 inhibition or lysyl–oxidase–1 inhibition in the reversal of angioproliferation. Tetrathiomolybdate inhibited the proliferation of human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells, isolated from explanted lungs from control subjects and patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. These data suggest that the inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation by a copper-restricting strategy could be explored as a new therapeutic approach in pulmonary arterial hypertension. It remains to be determined, however, whether potential toxicity to the right ventricle is offset by the beneficial pulmonary vascular effects of antiangiogenic treatment in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
pulmonary hypertension; copper; angiogenesis; tetrathiomolybdate
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a serious complication of systemic sclerosis (SSc). In clinical trials PAH-SSc has been grouped with other forms, including idiopathic PAH. The primary endpoint for most pivotal studies was improvement in exercise capacity. However, composite clinical endpoints that better reflect long-term outcome may be more meaningful. We discuss potential endpoints and consider why the same measures may not be appropriate for both idiopathic PAH and PAH-SSc due to inherent differences in clinical outcome and management strategies of these two forms of PAH. Failure to take this into account may compromise progress in managing PAH in SSc.
The Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with the Office of Rare Diseases Research, held a workshop to identify priority areas and strategic goals to enhance and accelerate research that will result in improved understanding of the lung vasculature, translational research needs, and ultimately the care of patients with pulmonary vascular diseases. Multidisciplinary experts with diverse experience in laboratory, translational, and clinical studies identified seven priority areas and discussed limitations in our current knowledge, technologies, and approaches. The focus for future research efforts include the following: (1) better characterizing vascular genotype–phenotype relationships and incorporating systems biology approaches when appropriate; (2) advancing our understanding of pulmonary vascular metabolic regulatory signaling in health and disease; (3) expanding our knowledge of the biologic relationships between the lung circulation and circulating elements, systemic vascular function, and right heart function and disease; (4) improving translational research for identifying disease-modifying therapies for the pulmonary hypertensive diseases; (5) establishing an appropriate and effective platform for advancing translational findings into clinical studies testing; and (6) developing the specific technologies and tools that will be enabling for these goals, such as question-guided imaging techniques and lung vascular investigator training programs. Recommendations from this workshop will be used within the Lung Vascular Biology and Disease Extramural Research Program for planning and strategic implementation purposes.
right ventricle; pulmonary hypertension; metabolism; genomics; phenotyping
Involvement of inflammation in pulmonary hypertension (PH) has previously been demonstrated and recently, immune-modulating dendritic cells (DCs) infiltrating arterial lesions in patients suffering from idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and in experimental monocrotaline-induced PH have been reported. Occurrence of perivascular inflammatory cells could be linked to local increase of oxidative stress (OS), as it has been shown for systemic atherosclerosis. The impact of OS on vascular remodeling in PH is still to be determined. We hypothesized, that augmented blood-flow could increase OS and might thereby contribute to DC/inflammatory cell-recruitment and smooth-muscle-cell-proliferation.
We applied a monocrotaline-induced PH-model and combined it with permanent flow-challenge. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to following groups: control, monocrotaline-exposure (MCT), monocrotaline-exposure/pneumonectomy (MCT/PE).
Hemodynamic exploration demonstrated most severe effects in MCT/PE, corresponding in histology to exuberant medial and adventitial remodeling of pulmonary muscular arteries, and intimal remodeling of smaller arterioles; lung-tissue PCR evidenced increased expression of DCs-specific fascin, CD68, proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, RANTES, fractalkine) in MCT/PE and to a lesser extent in MCT. Major OS enzyme NOX-4 was maximal in MCT/PE. Antioxidative stress enzymes Mn-SOD and glutathion-peroxidase-1 were significantly elevated, while HO-1 showed maximal expression in MCT with significant decrease in MCT/PE. Catalase was decreased in MCT and MCT/PE. Expression of NOX-4, but also of MN-SOD in MCT/PE was mainly attributed to a highly increased number of interstitial and perivascular CXCR4/SDF1 pathway-recruited mast-cells. Stress markers malonedialdehyde and nitrotyrosine were produced in endothelial cells, medial smooth muscle and perivascular leucocytes of hypertensive vasculature. Immunolabeling for OX62, CD68 and actin revealed adventitial and medial DC- and monocyte-infiltration; in MCT/PE, medial smooth muscle cells were admixed with CD68+/vimentin+ cells.
Our experimental findings support a new concept of immunologic responses to increased OS in MCT/PE-induced PAH, possibly linking recruitment of dendritic cells and OS-producing mast-cells to characteristic vasculopathy.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating vascular complication of a number of connective tissue diseases, including systemic sclerosis (SSc), where it has a dramatic impact on the clinical course and overall survival and is the single most common cause of death in patients afflicted with this syndrome. Although remarkable advances have been achieved in elucidating the pathogenesis of PAH over the past 2 decades, leading to the development of disease-targeted therapies for the idiopathic form of this condition (IPAH), the response to therapy is suboptimal in SSc-related PAH (SSc-PAH), and survival remains very poor. Factors accounting for striking clinical and prognostic differences between these two syndromes are unclear but may include a more pronounced autoimmune, cellular, and inflammatory response, and a higher prevalence of comorbidities in SSc-PAH, including cardiac and pulmonary venous and parenchymal involvement. Furthermore, currently available markers of disease severity and clinical tools to assess response to therapy, which may be reliable in IPAH, are either limited or lacking in SSc-PAH. Thus, a more focused approach, including a better understanding of the pathogenesis and genetic factors underlying the development of SSc-PAH, a search for more specific and reliable tools to adequately assess functional impairment and monitor therapy, as well as the design of novel targeted therapies, are all urgently required to alter the dismal course of this syndrome.
scleroderma; pulmonary hypertension; prognostic factors
Multidrug resistance–associated protein 4 (MRP4, also known as Abcc4) regulates intracellular levels of cAMP and cGMP in arterial SMCs. Here, we report our studies of the role of MRP4 in the development and progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a severe vascular disease characterized by chronically elevated pulmonary artery pressure and accompanied by remodeling of the small pulmonary arteries as a prelude to right heart failure and premature death. MRP4 expression was increased in pulmonary arteries from patients with idiopathic PAH as well as in WT mice exposed to hypoxic conditions. Consistent with a pathogenic role for MRP4 in PAH, WT mice exposed to hypoxia for 3 weeks showed reversal of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH) following oral administration of the MRP4 inhibitor MK571, and Mrp4–/– mice were protected from hypoxic PH. Inhibition of MRP4 in vitro was accompanied by increased intracellular cAMP and cGMP levels and PKA and PKG activities, implicating cyclic nucleotide-related signaling pathways in the mechanism underlying the protective effects of MRP4 inhibition. Our data suggest that MRP4 could represent a potential target for therapeutic intervention in PAH.
Adjusting medication for uncontrolled asthma involves selecting one of several options from the same or a higher treatment step outlined in asthma guidelines. We examined the relative benefit of introducing budesonide/formoterol (BUD/FORM) maintenance and reliever therapy (Symbicort SMART® Turbuhaler®) in patients previously prescribed treatments from Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Steps 2, 3 or 4.
This is a post hoc analysis of the results of five large clinical trials (>12000 patients) comparing BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy with other treatments categorised by treatment step at study entry. Both current clinical asthma control during the last week of treatment and exacerbations during the study were examined.
At each GINA treatment step, the proportion of patients achieving target levels of current clinical control were similar or higher with BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy compared with the same or a higher fixed maintenance dose of inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β2-agonist (ICS/LABA) (plus short-acting β2-agonist [SABA] as reliever), and rates of exacerbations were lower at all treatment steps in BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy versus same maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.01) and at treatment Step 4 versus higher maintenance dose ICS/LABA (P < 0.001). BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy also achieved significantly higher rates of current clinical control and significantly lower exacerbation rates at most treatment steps compared with a higher maintenance dose ICS + SABA (Steps 2-4 for control and Steps 3 and 4 for exacerbations). With all treatments, the proportion of patients achieving current clinical control was lower with increasing treatment steps.
BUD/FORM maintenance and reliever therapy may be a preferable option for patients on Steps 2 to 4 of asthma guidelines requiring a more effective treatment and, compared with other fixed dose alternatives, is most effective in the higher treatment steps.
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is detected with the tuberculin skin test (TST) before anti‐TNF therapy. We aimed to investigate in vitro blood assays with TB‐specific antigens (CFP‐10, ESAT‐6), in immune‐mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) for LTBI screening.
Patients and methods
Sixty‐eight IMID patients with (n = 35) or without (n = 33) LTBI according to clinico‐radiographic findings or TST results (10 mm cutoff value) underwent cell proliferation assessed by thymidine incorporation and PKH‐26 dilution assays, and IFNγ‐release enzyme‐linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assays with TB‐specific antigens.
In vitro blood assays gave higher positive results in patients with LTBI than without (p<0.05), with some variations between tests. Among the 13 patients with LTBI diagnosed independently of TST results, 5 had a negative TST (38.5%) and only 2 a negative blood assays result (15.4%). The 5 LTBI patients with negative TST results all had positive blood assays results. Ten patients without LTBI but with intermediate TST results (6–10 mm) had no different result than patients with TST result ⩽5 mm (p>0.3) and lower results than those with LTBI (p<0.05) on CFP‐10+ESAT‐6 ELISPOT and CFP‐10 proliferation assays.
Anti‐TB blood assays are beneficial for LTBI diagnosis in IMID. Compared with TST, they show a better sensitivity, as seen by positive results in 5 patients with certain LTBI and negative TST, and better specificity, as seen by negative results in most patients with intermediate TST as the only criteria of LTBI. In the absence of clinico‐radiographic findings for LTBI, blood assays could replace TST for antibiotherapy decision before anti‐TNF.
Previous studies indicate that patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) carrying a mutation in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) gene, develop the disease 10 years earlier than non-carriers, and have a more severe hemodynamic compromise at diagnosis. A recent report has suggested that this may only be the case for females and that patients with missense mutations in BMPR2 gene have more severe disease than patients with truncating mutations.
We reviewed data from all patients with PAH considered as idiopathic and patients with a family history of PAH, who underwent genetic counselling in the French PAH network between January, 1st 2004 and April, 1st 2010. We compared clinical, functional, and hemodynamic characteristics between carriers and non-carriers of a BMPR2 mutation, according to gender or BMPR2 mutation type.
PAH patients carrying a BMPR2 mutation (n = 115) were significantly younger at diagnosis than non-carriers (n = 267) (35.8 ± 15.4 and 47.5 ± 16.2 respectively, p < 0.0001). The presence of a BMPR2 mutation was associated with a younger age at diagnosis in females (36.4 ± 14.9 in BMPR2 mutation carriers and 47.4 ± 15.8 in non-carriers, p < 0.0001), and males (34.6 ± 16.8 in BMPR2 mutation carriers and 47.8 ± 17.1 in non-carriers, p < 0.0001). BMPR2 mutation carriers had a more severe hemodynamic compromise at diagnosis, but this was not influenced by gender. No differences in survival and time to death or lung transplantation were found in male and female PAH patients carrying a BMPR2 mutation. No differences were observed in clinical outcomes according to the type of BMPR2 mutations (missense, truncating, large rearrangement or splice defect).
When compared to non-carriers, BMPR2 mutation carriers from the French PAH network are younger at diagnosis and present with a more severe hemodynamic compromise, irrespective of gender. Moreover, BMPR2 mutation type had no influence on clinical phenotypes in our patient population.
Recent case reports suggest that benfluorex, a fenfluramine derivative used in the management of overweight diabetic patients and dyslipidemia, is associated with cardiac valve regurgitation.
We conducted a case-control study. Eligible patients were those admitted in the cardiology or the cardiac surgery units of our hospital between January, 1st 2003 and June 30th 2009, with mitral insufficiency diagnostic codes (ICD-10 I340 and I051). Patients with either a primary cause (degenerative, known rheumatic heart disease, infectious endocarditis, congenital, radiation-induced valvular disease, associated connective and/or vasculitis disease, trauma, tumor) or a secondary (functional) cause were considered as having an “explained” mitral regurgitation. Other patients were considered as having an “unexplained” mitral regurgitation and were included as cases. For each case, two controls were matched for gender and for the closest date of birth, among a list of patients with an “explained” mitral regurgitation. Drug exposures were assessed blindly regarding the case or control status, through contacts with patients, their family and/or their physicians.
Out of the 682 eligible patients, 27 cases and 54 matched controls were identified. The use of benfluorex was reported in 22 patients: 19 of the 27 cases, versus 3 of the 54 controls, odds-ratio 17.1 (3.5 to 83), adjusted for body mass index, diabetes and dexfenfluramine use.
The use of benfluorex is associated with unexplained mitral regurgitation.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive, lethal lung disease characterized by pulmonary artery SMC (PA-SMC) hyperplasia leading to right-sided heart failure. Molecular events originating in pulmonary ECs (P-ECs) may contribute to the PA-SMC hyperplasia in PH. Thus, we exposed cultured human PA-SMC to medium conditioned by P-EC from patients with idiopathic PH (IPH) or controls and found that IPH P-EC–conditioned medium increased PA-SMC proliferation more than control P-EC medium. Levels of FGF2 were increased in the medium of IPH P-ECs over controls, while there was no detectable difference in TGF-β1, PDGF-BB, or EGF levels. No difference in FGF2-induced proliferation or FGF receptor type 1 (FGFR1) mRNA levels was detected between IPH and control PA-SMCs. Knockdown of FGF2 in P-EC using siRNA reduced the PA-SMC growth-stimulating effects of IPH P-EC medium by 60% and control P-EC medium by 10%. In situ hybridization showed FGF2 overproduction predominantly in the remodeled vascular endothelium of lungs from patients with IPH. Repeated intravenous FGF2-siRNA administration abolished lung FGF2 production, both preventing and nearly reversing a rat model of PH. Similarly, pharmacological FGFR1 inhibition with SU5402 reversed established PH in the same model. Thus, endothelial FGF2 is overproduced in IPH and contributes to SMC hyperplasia in IPH, identifying FGF2 as a promising target for new treatments against PH.
Objectives. This longitudinal study investigated survival, risk factors and causes of death in the multicentre ItinérAIR-Sclérodermie cohort of patients with SSc without severe pulmonary fibrosis or severe left heart disease at baseline.
Methods. At 3-year follow-up, vital status was obtained from investigators or French national death records. Causes of death were classified as SSc-related or otherwise. Data were censored at 37 months, time of death or loss to follow-up, whichever was earlier. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Multivariate survival analyses were conducted using the Cox model.
Results. In total, 546 patients were followed for a median duration of 37 months, representing 1547 patient-years. At baseline, the majority of patients were female, with lcSSc, mean age 54.9 ± 13.0 years and mean duration of SSc of 8.8 ± 8.1 years. In total, 47 patients died, giving a 3-year survival of 91.1% and cumulative mortality of 3.04 deaths per 100 patient-years; 17 deaths (32.2%) resulted from pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and eight (17.1%) from cancer. Of the 47 patients with PAH at baseline, 20 died during follow-up, giving a 3-year survival of 56.3%. In a multivariate analysis, PAH [hazard ratio (HR) 7.246], age at first symptom (HR 1.052), duration of SSc (HR 1.047 per year) and Rodnan skin score (per one point) (HR 1.045) were associated with increased mortality.
Conclusion. This 3-year study observed survival and mortality estimates that were comparable with previous reports. PAH increased the HR for mortality in patients with SSc, justifying yearly echocardiographic screening.
Systemic sclerosis; Survival; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Pulmonary hypertension
Rationale: Serotonin is a pulmonary vasoconstrictor and smooth muscle cell mitogen. The serotonin transporter (SERT) is abundant in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle. Compared with the short (S) allele, the long (L) SERT promoter allele is associated with increased SERT transcription and more severe pulmonary hypertension in a cohort of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was more prevalent in a cohort with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), compared with control subjects.
Objective: We hypothesized that the SERT L allele would associate with an earlier age at diagnosis and/or shorter survival interval in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) than the S allele.
Methods: SERT promoters from 166 familial PAH (FPAH), 83 IPAH, and 125 control subjects were sequenced. One hundred twenty-seven of the patients with FPAH had a known mutation in bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2).
Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 35.8 yr in patients with FPAH and 41.1 yr in patients with IPAH (p = 0.02). There were no significant differences in distribution of the LL, LS, or SS genotypes in IPAH, FPAH, or unaffected BMPR2 mutation carriers. In FPAH, the LL genotype was associated with an earlier age at diagnosis (p < 0.02).
Conclusions: In patients with IPAH, these SERT genotypes do not correlate with age at diagnosis or survival interval. In patients with FPAH, the LL genotype correlates with an earlier age at diagnosis than SL or SS, although survival among the groups was similar. The correlation of the SERT promoter polymorphism with age at diagnosis in FPAH suggests a possible relationship between the SERT and BMPR2.
familial pulmonary arterial hypertension; 5-HT; 5-HTT; idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; primary pulmonary hypertension; serotonin transporter
Reactivation of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is a major complication of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α treatment, but its mechanism is not fully understood. We evaluated the effect of the TNF antagonists infliximab (Ifx), adalimumab (Ada) and etanercept (Eta) on anti-mycobacterial immune responses in two conditions: with ex vivo studies from patients treated with TNF antagonists and with the in vitro addition of TNF antagonists to cells stimulated with mycobacterial antigens. In both cases, we analysed the response of CD4+ T lymphocytes to purified protein derivative (PPD) and to culture filtrate protein (CFP)-10, an antigen restricted to Mtb. The tests performed were lymphoproliferation and immediate production of interferon (IFN)-γ. In the 68 patients with inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, spondylarthropathy or Crohn's disease), including 31 patients with a previous or latent tuberculosis (TB), 14 weeks of anti-TNF-α treatment had no effect on the proliferation of CD4+ T lymphocytes. In contrast, the number of IFN-γ-releasing CD4+ T lymphocytes decreased for PPD (p < 0.005) and CFP-10 (p < 0.01) in patients with previous TB and for PPD (p < 0.05) in other patients (all vaccinated with Bacille Calmette-Guérin). Treatments with Ifx and with Eta affected IFN-γ release to a similar extent. In vitro addition of TNF antagonists to CD4+ T lymphocytes stimulated with mycobacterial antigens inhibited their proliferation and their expression of membrane-bound TNF (mTNF). These effects occurred late in cultures, suggesting a direct effect of TNF antagonists on activated mTNF+ CD4+ T lymphocytes, and Ifx and Ada were more efficient than Eta. Therefore, TNF antagonists have a dual action on anti-mycobacterial CD4+ T lymphocytes. Administered in vivo, they decrease the frequency of the subpopulation of memory CD4+ T lymphocytes rapidly releasing IFN-γ upon challenge with mycobacterial antigens. Added in vitro, they inhibit the activation of CD4+ T lymphocytes by mycobacterial antigens. Such a dual effect may explain the increased incidence of TB in patients treated with TNF antagonists as well as possible differences between TNF antagonists for the incidence and the clinical presentation of TB reactivation.
Hyperplasia of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PA-SMCs) is a hallmark pathological feature of primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Here we found that PA-SMCs from patients with PPH grow faster than PA-SMCs from controls when stimulated by serotonin or serum and that these effects are due to increased expression of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), which mediates internalization of indoleamine. In the presence of 5-HTT inhibitors, the growth stimulatory effects of serum and serotonin were markedly reduced and the difference between growth of PA-SMCs from patients and controls was no longer observed. As compared with controls, the expression of 5-HTT was increased in cultured PA-SMCs as well as in platelets and lungs from patients with PPH where it predominated in the media of thickened pulmonary arteries and in onion-bulb lesions. The L-allelic variant of the 5HTT gene promoter, which is associated with 5-HTT overexpression and increased PA-SMC growth, was present in homozygous form in 65% of patients but in only 27% of controls. We conclude that 5-HTT activity plays a key role in the pathogenesis of PA-SMC proliferation in PPH and that a 5HTT polymorphism confers susceptibility to PPH.