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Plasma Proteomics Identifies B2M as a Regulator of Pulmonary Hypertension in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction.

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) represents an important phenotype in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). However, management of PH-HFpEF is challenging because mechanisms involved in the regulation of PH-HFpEF remain unclear.

METHODS: We used a mass spectrometry-based comparative plasma proteomics approach as a sensitive and comprehensive hypothesis-generating discovery technique to profile proteins in patients with PH-HFpEF and control subjects. We then validated and investigated the role of one of the identified proteins using in vitro cell cultures, in vivo animal models, and independent cohort of human samples.

RESULTS: Plasma proteomics identified high protein abundance levels of B2M (β2-microglobulin) in patients with PH-HFpEF. Interestingly, both circulating and skeletal muscle levels of B2M were increased in mice with skeletal muscle SIRT3 (sirtuin-3) deficiency or high-fat diet-induced PH-HFpEF. Plasma and muscle biopsies from a validation cohort of PH-HFpEF patients were found to have increased B2M levels, which positively correlated with disease severity, especially pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and right atrial pressure at rest. Not only did the administration of exogenous B2M promote migration/proliferation in pulmonary arterial vascular endothelial cells but it also increased PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) expression and cell proliferation in pulmonary arterial vascular smooth muscle cells. Finally, B2m deletion improved glucose intolerance, reduced pulmonary vascular remodeling, lowered PH, and attenuated RV hypertrophy in mice with high-fat diet-induced PH-HFpEF.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with PH-HFpEF display higher circulating and skeletal muscle expression levels of B2M, the magnitude of which correlates with disease severity. Our findings also reveal a previously unknown pathogenic role of B2M in the regulation of pulmonary vascular proliferative remodeling and PH-HFpEF. These data suggest that circulating and skeletal muscle B2M can be promising targets for the management of PH-HFpEF.

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