Pulmonary arterial hypertension, group 1 of the pulmonary hypertension disease family, involves pulmonary vascular remodelling, right ventricular dysfunction and cardiac failure. Oxidative stress, through activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases is implicated in these changes. Inhibition of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1, an apical mitogen-activated protein kinase, prevented pulmonary arterial hypertension developing in rodent models. Here, we investigate apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 in pulmonary arterial hypertension by examining the impact that its inhibition has on the molecular and cellular signalling in established disease. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibition was investigated in in vivo pulmonary arterial hypertension and in vitro pulmonary hypertension models. In the in vivo model, male Sprague Dawley rats received a single subcutaneous injection of Sugen SU5416 (20 mg/kg) prior to two weeks of hypobaric hypoxia (380 mmHg) followed by three weeks normoxia (Sugen/hypoxic), then animals were either maintained for three weeks on control chow or one containing apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibitor (100 mg/kg/day). Cardiovascular measurements were carried out. In the in vitro model, primary cultures of rat pulmonary artery fibroblasts and rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells were maintained in hypoxia (5% O2) and investigated for proliferation, migration and molecular signalling in the presence or absence of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibitor. Sugen/hypoxic animals displayed significant pulmonary arterial hypertension compared to normoxic controls at eight weeks. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibitor decreased right ventricular systolic pressure to control levels and reduced muscularised vessels in lung tissue. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibition was found to prevent hypoxia-induced proliferation, migration and cytokine release in rat pulmonary artery fibroblasts and also prevented rat pulmonary artery fibroblast-induced rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibition reversed pulmonary arterial hypertension in the Sugen/hypoxic rat model. These effects may be a result of intrinsic changes in the signalling of adventitial fibroblast.
- pulmonary hypertension
- mitogen activated protein kinases
- sugen/hypoxic rat model