Differential effects of TGF-beta1 and BMP-4 on the hypoxic induction of cyclooxygenase-2 in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells

Karen K K Sheares, Trina K Jeffery, Lu Long, Xudong Yang, Nicholas W Morrell
American Journal of Physiology. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 2004, 287 (5): L919-27
Chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension results partly from proliferation of smooth muscle cells in small peripheral pulmonary arteries. Previously, we demonstrated that hypoxia modulates the proliferation of human peripheral pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) by induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and production of antiproliferative prostaglandins. The transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily plays a critical role in the regulation of pulmonary vascular remodeling, although to date an interaction with hypoxia has not been examined. We therefore investigated the pathways involved in the hypoxic induction of COX-2 in peripheral PASMCs and the contribution of TGF-beta1 and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-4 in this response. In the present study, we demonstrate that hypoxia induces activation of p38MAPK, ERK1/2, and Akt in PASMCs and that these pathways are involved in the hypoxic regulation of COX-2. Whereas inhibition of p38(MAPK) or ERK1/2 activity suppressed hypoxic induction of COX-2, inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway enhanced hypoxic induction of COX-2. Furthermore, exogenous TGF-beta1 induced COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, and our findings demonstrate that release of TGF-beta1 by PASMCs during hypoxia contributes to the hypoxic induction of COX-2 via the p38MAPK pathway. In contrast, BMP-4 inhibited the hypoxic induction of COX-2 by an MAPK-independent pathway. Together, these findings suggest that the TGF-beta superfamily is part of an autocrine/paracrine system involved in the regulation of COX-2 expression in the distal pulmonary circulation, and this modulates hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular cell proliferation.

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