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Nature. 2015 Aug 20;524(7565):356-60. doi: 10.1038/nature14620. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

The zinc transporter ZIP12 regulates the pulmonary vascular response to chronic hypoxia.

Author information

1
Centre for Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK.
2
Physiological Genomics and Medicine Group, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK.
3
Section of Epigenomics and Disease, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK.
4
Department of Pediatrics and Medicine, Division of Critical Care Medicine and Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research Laboratories, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado 80045, USA.
5
Transgenics and Embryonic Stem Cell Laboratory, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK.
6
Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine, 3 Togolok Moldo Street, Bishkek 720040, Kyrgyzstan.
7
Section of Cell Biology and Functional Genomics, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London W12 0NN, UK.

Abstract

The typical response of the adult mammalian pulmonary circulation to a low oxygen environment is vasoconstriction and structural remodelling of pulmonary arterioles, leading to chronic elevation of pulmonary artery pressure (pulmonary hypertension) and right ventricular hypertrophy. Some mammals, however, exhibit genetic resistance to hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. We used a congenic breeding program and comparative genomics to exploit this variation in the rat and identified the gene Slc39a12 as a major regulator of hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodelling. Slc39a12 encodes the zinc transporter ZIP12. Here we report that ZIP12 expression is increased in many cell types, including endothelial, smooth muscle and interstitial cells, in the remodelled pulmonary arterioles of rats, cows and humans susceptible to hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. We show that ZIP12 expression in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells is hypoxia dependent and that targeted inhibition of ZIP12 inhibits the rise in intracellular labile zinc in hypoxia-exposed pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells and their proliferation in culture. We demonstrate that genetic disruption of ZIP12 expression attenuates the development of pulmonary hypertension in rats housed in a hypoxic atmosphere. This new and unexpected insight into the fundamental role of a zinc transporter in mammalian pulmonary vascular homeostasis suggests a new drug target for the pharmacological management of pulmonary hypertension.

PMID:
26258299
PMCID:
PMC6091855
DOI:
10.1038/nature14620
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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