Despite the fact that nucleotides and adenosine help regulate vascular tone through purinergic signaling pathways, little is known regarding their contributions to the pathobiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition characterized by elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and remodeling. Even less is known about the potential role that alterations in CD39 (ENTPD1), the ectonucleotidase responsible for the conversion of the nucleotides ATP and ADP to AMP, may play in pulmonary arterial hypertension. In this study we identified decreased CD39 expression on the pulmonary endothelium of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. We next determined the effects of CD39 gene deletion in mice exposed to normoxia or normobaric hypoxia (10% oxygen). Compared to controls, hypoxic CD39-/- mice were found to have a markedly elevated ATP-to-adenosine ratio, higher pulmonary arterial pressures, more right ventricular hypertrophy, more arterial medial hypertrophy, and a pro-thrombotic phenotype. In addition, hypoxic CD39-/- mice exhibited a marked increase in lung P2X1 receptors. Systemic reconstitution of ATPase and ADPase enzymatic activities through continuous administration of apyrase decreased pulmonary arterial pressures in hypoxic CD39-/- mice to levels found in hypoxic CD39+/+ controls. Treatment with NF279, a potent and specific P2X1 receptor antagonist, lowered pulmonary arterial pressures even further. Our study is the first to implicate decreased CD39 and resultant alterations in circulating purinergic signaling ligands and cognate receptors in the pathobiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Reconstitution and receptor blocking experiments suggest that phosphohydrolysis of purinergic nucleotide tri- and di-phosphates, or blocking of the P2X1 receptor could serve as treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.
- pulmonary hypertension
- purinergic signaling
- Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology