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Endothelial dysfunction is a known consequence of bone morphogenetic protein type II receptor () mutations seen in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, standard 2D cell culture models fail to mimic the mechanical environment seen in the pulmonary vasculature. Hydrogels have emerged as promising platforms for 3D disease modeling due to their tunable physical and biochemical properties. In order to recreate the mechanical stimuli seen in the pulmonary vasculature, we have created a novel 3D hydrogel-based pulmonary vasculature model ("artificial arteriole") that reproduces the pulsatile flow rates and pressures seen in the human lung. Using this platform, we studied both and WT endothelial cells to better understand how the addition of oscillatory flow and physiological pressure influenced gene expression, cell morphology, and cell permeability. The addition of oscillatory flow and pressure resulted in several gene expression changes in both WT and cells. However, for many pathways with relevance to PAH etiology, cells responded differently when compared to the WT cells. cells were also found not to elongate in the direction of flow, and instead remained stagnant in morphology despite mechanical stimuli. The increased permeability of the layer was successfully reproduced in our artificial arteriole, with the addition of flow and pressure not leading to significant changes in permeability. Our artificial arteriole is the first to model many mechanical properties seen in the lung. Its tunability enables several new opportunities to study the endothelium in pulmonary vascular disease with increased control over environmental parameters.
Myeloid⁻derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) comprised a heterogeneous subset of bone marrow⁻derived myeloid cells, best studied in cancer research, that are increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary vascular remodeling and the development of pulmonary hypertension. Stem cell transplantation represents one extreme interventional strategy for ablating the myeloid compartment but poses a number of translational challenges. There remains an outstanding need for additional therapeutic targets to impact MDSC function, including the potential to alter interactions with innate and adaptive immune subsets, or alternatively, alter trafficking receptors, metabolic pathways, and transcription factor signaling with readily available and safe drugs. In this review, we summarize the current literature on the role of myeloid cells in the development of pulmonary hypertension, first in pulmonary circulation changes associated with myelodysplastic syndromes, and then by examining intrinsic myeloid cell changes that contribute to disease progression in pulmonary hypertension. We then outline several tractable targets and pathways relevant to pulmonary hypertension via MDSC regulation. Identifying these MDSC-regulated effectors is part of an ongoing effort to impact the field of pulmonary hypertension research through identification of myeloid compartment-specific therapeutic applications in the treatment of pulmonary vasculopathies.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a deadly disease with no cure. Alternate conversion of angiotensin II (AngII) to angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) by angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) resulting in Mas receptor (Mas1) activation improves rodent models of PAH. Effects of recombinant human (rh) ACE2 in human PAH are unknown. Our objective was to determine the effects of rhACE2 in PAH.We defined the molecular effects of Mas1 activation using porcine pulmonary arteries, measured AngII/Ang-(1-7) levels in human PAH and conducted a phase IIa, open-label pilot study of a single infusion of rhACE2 (GSK2586881, 0.2 or 0.4 mg·kg intravenously).Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) and inflammatory gene expression were identified as markers of Mas1 activation. After confirming reduced plasma ACE2 activity in human PAH, five patients were enrolled in the trial. GSK2586881 was well tolerated with significant improvement in cardiac output and pulmonary vascular resistance. GSK2586881 infusion was associated with reduced plasma markers of inflammation within 2-4 h and increased SOD2 plasma protein at 2 weeks.PAH is characterised by reduced ACE2 activity. Augmentation of ACE2 in a pilot study was well tolerated, associated with improved pulmonary haemodynamics and reduced markers of oxidant and inflammatory mediators. Targeting this pathway may be beneficial in human PAH.
Copyright ©ERS 2018.
BACKGROUND - Pulmonary transit time (PTT) obtained from contrast echocardiography is a marker of global cardiopulmonary function. Pulmonary blood volume (PBV), derived from PTT, may be a noninvasive surrogate for left-sided filling pressures, such as pulmonary artery wedge pressure (PAWP). We sought to assess the relationship between PBV obtained from contrast echocardiography and PAWP.
METHODS - Participants were adult survivors of childhood cancer that had contrast echocardiography performed nearly simultaneously with right-heart catheterization. PTT was derived from time-intensity curves of contrast passage through the right ventricle (RV) and left atrium (LA). PBV relative to overall stroke volume (rPBV) was estimated from the product of PTT and heart rate during RV-LA transit. PAWP was obtained during standard right-heart catheterization. The Spearman correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between rPBV and PAWP.
RESULTS - The study population consisted of 7 individuals who had contrast echocardiography and right-heart catheterization within 3 hours of each other. There was a wide range of right atrial (1-17 mm Hg), mean pulmonary artery (18-42 mm Hg), and PAW pressures (4-26 mm Hg) as well as pulmonary vascular resistance (<1-6 Wood Units). We observed a statistically significant correlation between rPBV and PAWP (r = .85; P = .02).
CONCLUSION - Relative PBV derived from contrast echocardiography correlates with PAWP. If validated in larger studies, rPBV could potentially be used as an alternative to invasively determine left-sided filling pressure.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed in mitochondria during electron transport and energy generation. Elevated levels of ROS lead to increased amounts of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage. We report that levels of M1dG, a major endogenous peroxidation-derived DNA adduct, are 50-100-fold higher in mtDNA than in nuclear DNA in several different human cell lines. Treatment of cells with agents that either increase or decrease mitochondrial superoxide levels leads to increased or decreased levels of M1dG in mtDNA, respectively. Sequence analysis of adducted mtDNA suggests that M1dG residues are randomly distributed throughout the mitochondrial genome. Basal levels of M1dG in mtDNA from pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (PMVECs) from transgenic bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 mutant mice (BMPR2R899X) (four adducts per 106 dG) are twice as high as adduct levels in wild-type cells. A similar increase was observed in mtDNA from heterozygous null (BMPR2+/-) compared to wild-type PMVECs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is observed in the presence of BMPR2 signaling disruptions, which are also associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidant injury to endothelial tissue. Persistence of M1dG adducts in mtDNA could have implications for mutagenesis and mitochondrial gene expression, thereby contributing to the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in diseases.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible, and typically fatal lung disease characterised by subpleural fibrosis, subepithelial fibroblast foci, and microscopic honeycombing. Although understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms continues to evolve, evidence indicates that distal airway and alveolar epithelial cells are central drivers of the disease. In this Viewpoint, we review the history of naming and classifications used to define the disease now referred to as IPF, in the context of understanding the clinical presentation, causes, and pathogenesis of the disease. We aim to generate discussion on whether, given the substantial progress made in understanding the clinical, genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of IPF, a change of name should be considered. To initiate this discussion, we offer new suggestions to update the name of this disease and new approaches to classify all forms of pulmonary fibrosis.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is necessary for normal lung development, and abnormal Wnt signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of both bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), fibrotic lung diseases that occur during infancy and aging, respectively. Using a library of human normal and diseased human lung samples, we identified a distinct signature of nuclear accumulation of β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 489 and epithelial cell cytosolic localization of β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 654 in early normal lung development and fibrotic lung diseases BPD and IPF. Furthermore, this signature was recapitulated in murine models of BPD and IPF. Image analysis of immunofluorescence colocalization demonstrated a consistent pattern of elevated nuclear phosphorylated β-catenin in the lung epithelium and surrounding mesenchyme in BPD and IPF, closely resembling the pattern observed in 18-week fetal lung. Nuclear β-catenin phosphorylated at tyrosine 489 associated with an increased expression of Wnt target gene AXIN2, suggesting that the observed β-catenin signature is of functional significance during normal development and injury repair. The association of specific modifications of β-catenin during normal lung development and again in response to lung injury supports the widely held concept that repair of lung injury involves the recapitulation of developmental programs. Furthermore, these observations suggest that β-catenin phosphorylation has potential as a therapeutic target for the treatment and prevention of both BPD and IPF.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Loss of secretory IgA is common in the small airways of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and may contribute to disease pathogenesis. Using mice that lack secretory IgA in the airways due to genetic deficiency of polymeric Ig receptor (pIgR mice), we investigated the role of neutrophils in driving the fibrotic small airway wall remodeling and emphysema that develops spontaneously in these mice. By flow cytometry, we found an increase in the percentage of neutrophils among CD45 cells in the lungs, as well as an increase in total neutrophils, in pIgR mice compared with wild-type controls. This increase in neutrophils in pIgR mice was associated with elastin degradation in the alveolar compartment and around small airways, along with increased collagen deposition in small airway walls. Neutrophil depletion using anti-Ly6G antibodies or treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics inhibited development of both emphysema and small airway remodeling, suggesting that airway bacteria provide the stimulus for deleterious neutrophilic inflammation in this model. Exogenous bacterial challenge using lysates prepared from pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria worsened neutrophilic inflammation and lung remodeling in pIgR mice. This phenotype was abrogated by antiinflammatory therapy with roflumilast. Together, these studies support the concept that disruption of the mucosal immune barrier in small airways contributes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease progression by allowing bacteria to stimulate chronic neutrophilic inflammation, which, in turn, drives progressive airway wall fibrosis and emphysematous changes in the lung parenchyma.