skip to main content

Title: Cellular mechanosignaling in pulmonary arterial hypertension
Abstract Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a vasculopathy characterized by sustained elevated pulmonary arterial pressures in which the pulmonary vasculature undergoes significant structural and functional remodeling. To better understand disease mechanisms, in this review article we highlight recent insights into the regulation of pulmonary arterial cells by mechanical cues associated with PAH. Specifically, the mechanobiology of pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAECs), smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and adventitial fibroblasts (PAAFs) has been investigated in vivo, in vitro, and in silico. Increased pulmonary arterial pressure increases vessel wall stress and strain and endothelial fluid shear stress. These mechanical cues promote vasoconstriction and fibrosis that contribute further to hypertension and alter the mechanical milieu and regulation of pulmonary arterial cells.
Authors:
;
Award ID(s):
2046259
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10319859
Journal Name:
Biophysical Reviews
Volume:
13
Issue:
5
ISSN:
1867-2450
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Pulmonary arterial adventitial fibroblasts (PAAFs) are important regulators of fibrotic vascular remodeling during the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a disease that currently has no effective anti-fibrotic treatments. We conducted in-vitro experiments in PAAFs cultured on hydrogels attached to custom-made equibiaxial stretchers at 10% stretch and substrate stiffnesses representing the mechanical conditions of mild and severe stages of PAH. The expression of collagens α(1)I and α(1)III and elastin messenger RNAs (Col1a1, Col3a1, Eln) were upregulated by increased stretch and substrate stiffness, while lysyl oxidase-like 1 and α-smooth muscle actin messenger RNAs (Loxl1, Acta2) were only significantly upregulated when the cells were grown on matrices with an elevated stiffness representative of mild PAH but not on a stiffness representative of severe PAH. Fibronectin messenger RNA (Fn1) levels were significantly induced by increased substrate stiffness and transiently upregulated by stretch at 4 h, but was not significantly altered by stretch at 24 h. We modified our published computational network model of the signaling pathways that regulate profibrotic gene expression in PAAFs to allow for differential regulation of mechanically-sensitive nodes by stretch and stiffness. When the model was modified so that stiffness activated integrin β3, the Macrophage Stimulating 1 or 2 (MST1\2)more »kinases, angiotensin II (Ang II), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and syndecan-4, and stretch-regulated integrin β3, MST1\2, Ang II, and the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel, the model correctly predicted the upregulation of all six genes by increased stiffness and the observed responses to stretch in five out of six genes, although it could not replicate the non-monotonic effects of stiffness on Loxl1 and Acta2 expression. Blocking Ang II Receptor Type 1 (AT1R) with losartan in-vitro uncovered an interaction between the effects of stretch and stiffness and angiotensin-independent activation of Fn1 expression by stretch in PAAFs grown on 3-kPa matrices. This novel combination of in-vitro and in-silico models of PAAF profibrotic cell signaling in response to altered mechanical conditions may help identify regulators of vascular adventitial remodeling due to changes in stretch and matrix stiffness that occur during the progression of PAH in-vivo.« less
  2. Although pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) leads to right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy and structural remodeling, the relative contributions of changes in myocardial geometric and mechanical properties to systolic and diastolic chamber dysfunction and their time courses remain unknown. Using measurements of RV hemodynamic and morphological changes over 10 wk in a male rat model of PAH and a mathematical model of RV mechanics, we discriminated the contributions of RV geometric remodeling and alterations of myocardial material properties to changes in systolic and diastolic chamber function. Significant and rapid RV hypertrophic wall thickening was sufficient to stabilize ejection fraction in response to increased pulmonary arterial pressure by week 4 without significant changes in systolic myofilament activation. After week 4, RV end-diastolic pressure increased significantly with no corresponding changes in end-diastolic volume. Significant RV diastolic chamber stiffening by week 5 was not explained by RV hypertrophy. Instead, model analysis showed that the increases in RV end-diastolic chamber stiffness were entirely attributable to increased resting myocardial material stiffness that was not associated with significant myocardial fibrosis or changes in myocardial collagen content or type. These findings suggest that whereas systolic volume in this model of RV pressure overload is stabilized by early RV hypertrophy,more »diastolic dilation is prevented by subsequent resting myocardial stiffening. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using a novel combination of hemodynamic and morphological measurements over 10 wk in a male rat model of PAH and a mathematical model of RV mechanics, we found that compensated systolic function was almost entirely explained by RV hypertrophy, but subsequently altered RV end-diastolic mechanics were primarily explained by passive myocardial stiffening that was not associated with significant collagen extracellular matrix accumulation.« less
  3. Changes in structure and function of small muscular arteries play a major role in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension, a burgeoning public health challenge. Improved anatomically mimetic in vitro models of these microvessels are urgently needed because nonhuman vessels and previous models do not accurately recapitulate the microenvironment and architecture of the human microvascular wall. Here, we describe parallel biofabrication of photopatterned self-rolled biomimetic pulmonary arterial microvessels of tunable size and infrastructure. These microvessels feature anatomically accurate layering and patterning of aligned human smooth muscle cells, extracellular matrix, and endothelial cells and exhibit notable increases in endothelial longevity and nitric oxide production. Computational image processing yielded high-resolution 3D perspectives of cells and proteins. Our studies provide a new paradigm for engineering multicellular tissues with precise 3D spatial positioning of multiple constituents in planar moieties, providing a biomimetic platform for investigation of microvascular pathobiology in human disease.
  4. Abstract Upon ligand binding, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptors form active tetrameric complexes, comprised of two type I and two type II receptors, which then transmit signals to SMAD proteins. The link between receptor tetramerization and the mechanism of kinase activation, however, has not been elucidated. Here, using hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, combined with analysis of SMAD signaling, we show that the kinase domain of the type I receptor ALK2 and type II receptor BMPR2 form a heterodimeric complex via their C-terminal lobes. Formation of this dimer is essential for ligand-induced receptor signaling and is targeted by mutations in BMPR2 in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We further show that the type I/type II kinase domain heterodimer serves as the scaffold for assembly of the active tetrameric receptor complexes to enable phosphorylation of the GS domain and activation of SMADs.
  5. Vascular cells restructure extracellular matrix in response to aging or changes in mechanical loading. Here, we characterized collagen architecture during age-related aortic remodeling in atherosclerosis-prone mice. We hypothesized that changes in collagen fiber orientation reflect an altered balance between passive and active forces acting on the arterial wall. We examined two factors that can alter this balance, endothelial dysfunction and reduced smooth muscle cell (SMC) contractility. Collagen fiber organization was visualized by second-harmonic generation microscopy in aortic adventitia of apolipoprotein E (apoE) knockout (KO) mice at 6 wk and 6 mo of age on a chow diet and at 7.5 mo of age on a Western diet (WD), using image analysis to yield mean fiber orientation. Adventitial collagen fibers became significantly more longitudinally oriented with aging in apoE knockout mice on chow diet. Conversely, fibers became more circumferentially oriented with aging in mice on WD. Total collagen content increased significantly with age in mice fed WD. We compared expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and acetylcholine-mediated nitric oxide release but found no evidence of endothelial dysfunction in older mice. Time-averaged volumetric blood flow in all groups showed no significant changes. Wire myography of aortic rings revealed decreases in active stress generation with agemore »that were significantly exacerbated in WD mice. We conclude that the aorta displays a distinct remodeling response to atherogenic stimuli, indicated by altered collagen organization. Collagen reorganization can occur in the absence of altered hemodynamics and may represent an adaptive response to reduced active stress generation by vascular SMCs. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The following major observations were made in this study: 1) aortic adventitial collagen fibers become more longitudinally oriented with aging in apolipoprotein E knockout mice fed a chow diet; 2) conversely, adventitial collagen fibers become more circumferentially oriented with aging in apoE knockout mice fed a high-fat diet; 3) adventitial collagen content increases significantly with age in mice on a high-fat diet; 4) these alterations in collagen organization occur largely in the absence of hemodynamic changes; and 5) circumferential reorientation of collagen is associated with decreased active force generation (contractility) in aged mice on a high-fat diet.« less