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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012 Nov;47(5):718-26. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2011-0418OC. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

The Nox4 inhibitor GKT137831 attenuates hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular cell proliferation.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, GA 30033, USA.


Increased NADP reduced (NADPH) oxidase 4 (Nox4) and reduced expression of the nuclear hormone receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) contribute to hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH). To examine the role of Nox4 activity in pulmonary vascular cell proliferation and PH, the current study used a novel Nox4 inhibitor, GKT137831, in hypoxia-exposed human pulmonary artery endothelial or smooth muscle cells (HPAECs or HPASMCs) in vitro and in hypoxia-treated mice in vivo. HPAECs or HPASMCs were exposed to normoxia or hypoxia (1% O(2)) for 72 hours with or without GKT137831. Cell proliferation and Nox4, PPARγ, and transforming growth factor (TGF)β1 expression were measured. C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to normoxia or hypoxia (10% O(2)) for 3 weeks with or without GKT137831 treatment during the final 10 days of exposure. Lung PPARγ and TGF-β1 expression, right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), and pulmonary vascular remodeling were measured. GKT137831 attenuated hypoxia-induced H(2)O(2) release, proliferation, and TGF-β1 expression and blunted reductions in PPARγ in HPAECs and HPASMCs in vitro. In vivo GKT137831 inhibited hypoxia-induced increases in TGF-β1 and reductions in PPARγ expression and attenuated RVH and pulmonary artery wall thickness but not increases in RVSP or muscularization of small arterioles. This study shows that Nox4 plays a critical role in modulating proliferative responses of pulmonary vascular wall cells. Targeting Nox4 with GKT137831 provides a novel strategy to attenuate hypoxia-induced alterations in pulmonary vascular wall cells that contribute to vascular remodeling and RVH, key features involved in PH pathogenesis.

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