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Respir Res. 2019 Jun 14;20(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s12931-019-1090-2.

Transection of the cervical sympathetic trunk inhibits the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension via ERK-1/2 Signalling.

Author information

1
Department of Cardiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 1 Youyi Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, China.
2
Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
3
Present Address: Lung Vascular Biology Program, NHLBI/NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.
4
Department of Cardiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 1 Youyi Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, China. weihuangcq@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Abnormal sympathetic hyperactivity has been shown to lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) deterioration. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the transection of the cervical sympathetic trunk (TCST) can inhibit the progression of PAH in a monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PAH model and elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

METHODS:

Rats were randomly divided into four groups, including a control group, an MCT group, an MCT + sham group and an MCT + TCST group. After performing haemodynamic and echocardiographic measurements, the rats were sacrificed for the histological study, and the norepinephrine (NE) concentrations and protein expression level of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were evaluated. The protein expression levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-1/2, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), cyclin A2 and cyclin D1 in pulmonary artery vessels and pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) were determined.

RESULTS:

Compared with the MCT + sham group, TCST profoundly reduced the mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) (22.02 ± 4.03 mmHg vs. 31.71 ± 2.94 mmHg), right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) (35.21 ± 5.59 mmHg vs. 48.36 ± 5.44 mmHg), medial wall thickness (WT%) (22.48 ± 1.75% vs. 46.10 ± 3.16%), and right ventricular transverse diameter (RVTD) (3.78 ± 0.40 mm vs. 4.36 ± 0.29 mm) and increased the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) (2.00 ± 0.12 mm vs. 1.41 ± 0.24 mm) (all P < 0.05). The NE concentrations and protein expression levels of TH were increased in the PAH rats but significantly decreased after TCST. Furthermore, TCST reduced the increased protein expression of PCNA, cyclin A2 and cyclin D1 induced by MCT in vivo. We also found that NE promoted PASMC viability and activated the ERK-1/2 pathway. However, the abovementioned NE-induced changes could be suppressed by the specific ERK-1/2 inhibitor U0126.

CONCLUSION:

TCST can suppress pulmonary artery remodelling and right heart failure in MCT-induced PAH. The main mechanism may be that TCST decreases the NE concentrations in lung tissues, thereby preventing NE from promoting PASMC proliferation mediated by the ERK-1/2 signalling pathway.

KEYWORDS:

Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Sympathetic nerve block; Transection of the cervical sympathetic trunk

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