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Glycyrrhizin, inhibitor of high mobility group box-1, attenuates monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling in rats

Pil-Sung Yang, Dae-Hoon Kim, Yong Joon Lee, Sang-Eun Lee, Won Jun Kang, Hyuk-Jae Chang, Jeon-Soo Shin
Respiratory Research 2014, 15: 148
25420924

BACKGROUND: High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), a proinflammatory cytokine, plays a pivotal role in tissue remodeling and angiogenesis, both of which are crucial for the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension. In this study, we explored the relationship between HMGB1 and pulmonary hypertension and whether glycyrrhizin, an inhibitor of HMGB1, attenuates disease progression in an animal model of pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline sodium (MCT).

METHODS: After inducing pulmonary hypertension through a single subcutaneous injection of MCT (60 mg/kg) to Sprague-Dawley rats, we administered daily intraperitoneal injections of either glycyrrhizin (GLY, 50 mg/kg), an inhibitor of HMGB1, or saline (control) for either 4 or 6 weeks.

RESULTS: Expression levels of HMGB1 in serum increased from the second week after MCT injection and remained elevated throughout the experiment periods. Lung tissue levels of HMGB1 assessed by immunohistochemical staining at 4 weeks after MCT injection also increased. Chronic inhibition of HMGB1 by GLY treatment reduced the MCT-induced increase in right ventricular (RV) systolic pressure, RV hypertrophy (ratio of RV to [left ventricle + septum]), and pulmonary inflammation. MCT-induced muscularization of the pulmonary artery was also attenuated in the GLY-treated group. As assessed 6 weeks after MCT injection, the GLY-treated group exhibited increased survival (90% [18 of 20]) when compared with the control group (60% [12 of 20]; p =0.0027).

CONCLUSIONS: Glycyrrhizin, an inhibitor of HMGB1, attenuates pulmonary hypertension progression and pulmonary vascular remodeling in the MCT-induced pulmonary hypertension rat model. Further studies are needed to confirm the potential of HMGB1 as a novel therapeutic target for pulmonary hypertension.

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