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BACKGROUND - Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are routinely instructed to avoid performing the Valsalva maneuver for fear of syncope or sudden cardiac death. The mechanism of this action has not been elucidated. We conducted a case-control trial of nine patients with PAH and 15 healthy control subjects to determine if systemic hemodynamic changes during the Valsalva maneuver in these patients invoke greater susceptibility to syncope than healthy control subjects. Metrics commonly employed in autonomic testing were used to assess the degree of autonomic failure.
METHODS - Common Valsalva parameters, including adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity, pressure recovery time, systolic BP (SBP) recovery, diastolic BP (DBP) recovery, mean arterial pressure recovery, and the Valsalva ratio, were calculated. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare continuous variables. The primary end point was adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity.
RESULTS - Patients with PAH had lower adrenergic baroreflex sensitivity (9.7 ± 4.6 mm Hg/s vs 18.8 ± 9.2 mm Hg/s; P = .005), longer pressure recovery time (3.6 ± 2.5 s vs 1.7 ± 0.8 s; P = .008), similar SBP recovery (-13 ± 11 mm Hg vs -12 ± 23 mm Hg; P = .640), less DBP recovery (-1 ± 12 mm Hg vs 13 ± 14 mmHg; P = .025), less mean arterial pressure recovery (-5 ± 11 mm Hg vs 5 ± 17 mm Hg; P = .048), and a decreased Valsalva ratio (1.25 ± 0.11 vs 1.60 ± 0.22; P < .001) compared with healthy control subjects.
CONCLUSIONS - Compared with healthy control subjects, patients with PAH are more susceptible to syncope during the Valsalva maneuver because of autonomic dysfunction causing cerebral hypoperfusion. These study patients with PAH exhibited a degree of susceptibility to syncope similar to a spectrum of patients with intermediate autonomic failure who typically experience a SBP drop of 10 to 30 mm Hg with standing.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Chest Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Mutations in the gene encoding the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II (BMPR2) are the commonest genetic cause of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, the effect of BMPR2 mutations on clinical phenotype and outcomes remains uncertain.
METHODS - We analysed individual participant data of 1550 patients with idiopathic, heritable, and anorexigen-associated PAH from eight cohorts that had been systematically tested for BMPR2 mutations. The primary outcome was the composite of death or lung transplantation. All-cause mortality was the secondary outcome. Hazard ratios (HRs) for death or transplantation and all-cause mortality associated with the presence of BMPR2 mutation were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models stratified by cohort.
FINDINGS - Overall, 448 (29%) of 1550 patients had a BMPR2 mutation. Mutation carriers were younger at diagnosis (mean age 35·4 [SD 14·8] vs 42·0 [17·8] years), had a higher mean pulmonary artery pressure (60·5 [13·8] vs 56·4 [15·3] mm Hg) and pulmonary vascular resistance (16·6 [8·3] vs 12·9 [8·3] Wood units), and lower cardiac index (2·11 [0·69] vs 2·51 [0·92] L/min per m(2); all p<0·0001). Patients with BMPR2 mutations were less likely to respond to acute vasodilator testing (3% [10 of 380] vs 16% [147 of 907]; p<0·0001). Among the 1164 individuals with available survival data, age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HRs comparing BMPR2 mutation carriers with non-carriers were 1·42 (95% CI 1·15-1·75; p=0·0011) for the composite of death or lung transplantation and 1·27 (1·00-1·60; p=0·046) for all-cause mortality. These HRs were attenuated after adjustment for potential mediators including pulmonary vascular resistance, cardiac index, and vasoreactivity. HRs for death or transplantation and all-cause mortality associated with BMPR2 mutation were similar in men and women, but higher in patients with a younger age at diagnosis (p=0·0030 for death or transplantation, p=0·011 for all-cause mortality).
INTERPRETATION - Patients with PAH and BMPR2 mutations present at a younger age with more severe disease, and are at increased risk of death, and death or transplantation, compared with those without BMPR2 mutations.
FUNDING - Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, INSERM, Université Paris-Sud, Intermountain Research and Medical Foundation, Vanderbilt University, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Natural Science Foundation.
Copyright © 2016 Evans et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC-BY. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Hereditary pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH) is a rare, fatal disease of the pulmonary vasculature. The majority of HPAH patients inherit mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein type 2 receptor gene (BMPR2), but how these promote pulmonary vascular disease is unclear. HPAH patients have features of pulmonary endothelial cell (PEC) dysfunction including increased vascular permeability and perivascular inflammation associated with decreased PEC barrier function. Recently, frameshift mutations in the caveolar structural protein gene Caveolin-1 (CAV-1) were identified in two patients with non-BMPR2-associated HPAH. Because caveolae regulate endothelial function and vascular permeability, we hypothesized that defects in caveolar function might be a common mechanism by which BMPR2 mutations promote pulmonary vascular disease. To explore this, we isolated PECs from mice carrying heterozygous null Bmpr2 mutations (Bmpr2(+/-)) similar to those found in the majority of HPAH patients. We show that Bmpr2(+/-) PECs have increased numbers and intracellular localization of caveolae and caveolar structural proteins CAV-1 and Cavin-1 and that these defects are reversed after blocking endocytosis with dynasore. SRC kinase is also constitutively activated in Bmpr2(+/-) PECs, and localization of CAV-1 to the plasma membrane is restored after treating Bmpr2(+/-) PECs with the SRC kinase inhibitor 3-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4-amine (PP2). Late outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells isolated from HPAH patients show similar increased activation of SRC kinase. Moreover, Bmpr2(+/-) PECs have impaired endothelial barrier function, and barrier function is restored after treatment with PP2. These data suggest that heterozygous null BMPR2 mutations promote SRC-dependent caveolar trafficking defects in PECs and that this may contribute to pulmonary endothelial barrier dysfunction in HPAH patients.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - The identification of the genetic basis for heritable predisposition to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has altered the clinical and research landscape for PAH patients and their care providers. This review aims to describe the genetic discoveries and their impact on clinical medicine.
RECENT FINDINGS - Since the landmark discovery that bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II (BMPR2) mutations cause the majority of cases of familial PAH, investigators have discovered mutations in genes that cause PAH in families without BMPR2 mutations, including the type I receptor ACVRL1 and the type III receptor ENG (both associated with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia), caveolin-1 (CAV1), and a gene (KCNK3) encoding a two-pore potassium channel. Mutations in these genes cause an autosomal-dominant predisposition to PAH in which a fraction of mutation carriers develop PAH (incomplete penetrance). In 2014, scientists discovered mutations in eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 4 (EIF2AK4) that cause pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, an autosomal recessively inherited disorder.
SUMMARY - The discovery that some forms of pulmonary hypertension are heritable and can be genetically defined adds important opportunities for physicians to educate their patients and their families to understand the potential risks and benefits of genetic testing.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease for which there is an ever-expanding body of genetic and related pathophysiological information on disease pathogenesis. Many germline gene mutations have now been described, including mutations in the gene coding bone morphogenic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) and related genes. Recent advanced gene-sequencing methods have facilitated the discovery of additional genes with mutations among those with and those without familial forms of PAH (CAV1, KCNK3, EIF2AK4). The reduced penetrance, variable expressivity, and female predominance of PAH suggest that genetic, genomic, and other factors modify disease expression. These multi-faceted variations are an active area of investigation in the field, including but not limited to common genetic variants and epigenetic processes, and may provide novel opportunities for pharmacological intervention in the near future. They also highlight the need for a systems-oriented multi-level approach to incorporate the multitude of biological variations now associated with PAH. Ultimately, an in-depth understanding of the genetic factors relevant to PAH provides the opportunity for improved patient and family counseling about this devastating disease.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
Understanding differences in gene expression that increase risk for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is essential to understanding the molecular basis for disease. Previous studies on patient samples were limited by end-stage disease effects or by use of nonadherent cells, which are not ideal to model vascular cells in vivo. These studies addressed the hypothesis that pathological processes associated with PAH may be identified via a genetic signature common across multiple cell types. Expression array experiments were initially conducted to analyze cell types at different stages of vascular differentiation (mesenchymal stromal and endothelial) derived from PAH patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Molecular pathways that were altered in the PAH cell lines were then compared with those in fibroblasts from 21 patients, including those with idiopathic and heritable PAH. Wnt was identified as a target pathway and was validated in vitro using primary patient mesenchymal and endothelial cells. Taken together, our data suggest that the molecular lesions that cause PAH are present in all cell types evaluated, regardless of origin, and that stimulation of the Wnt signaling pathway was a common molecular defect in both heritable and idiopathic PAH.
RATIONALE - Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease characterized by elevated pulmonary artery pressure, vascular remodeling, and ultimately right ventricular heart failure. PAH can have a genetic component (heritable PAH), most often through mutations of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2, and idiopathic and associated forms. Heritable PAH is not completely penetrant within families, with approximately 20% concurrence of inactivating bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 mutations and delayed onset of PAH disease. Because one of the treatment options is using prostacyclin analogs, we hypothesized that prostacyclin synthase promoter sequence variants associated with increased mRNA expression may play a protective role in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 unaffected carriers.
OBJECTIVES - To characterize the range of prostacyclin synthase promoter variants and assess their transcriptional activities in PAH-relevant cell types. To determine the distribution of prostacyclin synthase promoter variants in PAH, unaffected carriers in heritable PAH families, and control populations.
METHODS - Polymerase chain reaction approaches were used to genotype prostacyclin synthase promoter variants in more than 300 individuals. Prostacyclin synthase promoter haplotypes' transcriptional activities were determined with luciferase reporter assays.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS - We identified a comprehensive set of prostacyclin synthase promoter variants and tested their transcriptional activities in PAH-relevant cell types. We demonstrated differences of prostacyclin synthase promoter activities dependent on their haplotype.
CONCLUSIONS - Prostacyclin synthase promoter sequence variants exhibit a range of transcriptional activities. We discovered a significant bias for more active prostacyclin synthase promoter variants in unaffected carriers as compared with affected patients with PAH.