Randomised placebo-controlled safety and tolerability trial of FK506 (tacrolimus) for pulmonary arterial hypertension
EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL
2017; 50 (3)
Identification of Pulmonary Hypertension Caused by Left Heart Disease (World Health Organization Group 2) Based on Cardiac Chamber Volumes Derived from Chest CT.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease characterised by occlusive pulmonary vasculopathy. Activation of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) signalling by FK506 (tacrolimus) reverses occlusive vasculopathy in rodent PAH models. Here, we determined the safety and tolerability of low-level FK506 therapy in stable PAH patients.We performed a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 16-week, single-centre, phase IIa trial in PAH patients with New York Heart Association functional class II/III symptoms using three FK506 target levels (<2, 2-3 and 3-5 ng·mL-1). 23 patients were randomised and 20 patients completed the trial.FK506 was generally well tolerated, with nausea/diarrhoea being the most commonly reported adverse event and no observation of line infections in patients on intravenous prostacyclin therapy. PAH patients had significantly lower BMPR2 expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells versus healthy controls (n=13; p=0.005), which improved after FK506 treatment. While we observed that some patients responded with a pronounced increase in BMPR2 expression as well as improvement in 6-min walk distance, and serological and echocardiographic parameters of heart failure, these changes were not significant.Low-level FK506 is well tolerated and increases BMPR2 in subsets of PAH patients. These results support the study of FK506 in a phase IIb efficacy trial.
View details for PubMedID 28893866
Left Atrium Maximal Axial Cross-Sectional Area is a Specific Computed Tomographic Imaging Biomarker of World Health Organization Group 2 Pulmonary Hypertension.
Journal of thoracic imaging
2017; 32 (2): 121-126
Evaluations of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) commonly include chest computed tomography (CT). We hypothesized that cardiac chamber volumes calculated from the same CT scans can yield additional information to distinguish left heart disease-related PH (WHO Group 2) from other PH subtypes.Patients with right heart catheterization (RHC)-confirmed PH and contrast-enhanced chest CT studies were enrolled in this retrospective multicenter study. Cardiac chamber volumes were calculated using automated segmentation software and compared between Group 2 and non-Group 2 PH patients.This study included 114 PH patients, of whom 27 (24%) were classified as Group 2 based on their pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. Group 2 PH patients exhibited significantly larger median left atrial (LA) volumes (118 vs. 63 mL, P < 0.001), larger median left ventricular (LV) volumes (90 vs. 76 mL, P = 0.02), and smaller median right ventricular (RV) volumes (173 vs. 210 mL, P = 0.005) than non-Group 2 patients. On multivariate analysis adjusted to age, gender, and mean pulmonary arterial pressure, Group 2 PH was significantly associated with larger median LA and LV volumes (P < 0.001 and P = 0.008, respectively), and decreased volume ratios of RA/LA, RV/LV and RV/LA (P = 0.001, P = 0.004, and P < 0.001, respectively). Enlarged LA volumes demonstrated high discriminatory ability for Group 2 PH (AUC=0.92; 95%CI, 0.870-0.968).Volumetric analysis of the cardiac chambers from non-gated chest CTs, particularly with findings of an enlarged LA, exhibited high discriminatory ability for identifying patients with PH due to left heart disease.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chest.2017.04.184
View details for PubMedID 28506612
Simultaneously Targeting Myofibroblast Contractility and Extracellular Matrix Cross-Linking as a Therapeutic Concept in Airway Fibrosis.
American journal of transplantation
Left heart disease is associated with left atrial enlargement and is a common cause of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We investigated the relationship between left atrium maximal axial cross-sectional area (LA-MACSA), as measured on chest computed tomography (CT), and PH due to left heart disease (World Health Organization group 2) in patients with right heart catheterization-proven PH.A total of 165 patients with PH who had undergone right heart catheterization with pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) measurements and nongated chest CTs were included. LA-MACSA, LA anterior-posterior, and LA transverse measurements were independently obtained using the hand-drawn region-of-interest and distance measurement tools on standard PACS by 2 blinded cardiothoracic radiologists. Nonparametric statistical analyses and receiver operating characteristic curve were performed.Forty-three patients had group 2 PH (PCWP>15 mm Hg), and 122 had nongroup 2 PH (PCWP≤15 mm Hg). Median LA-MACSA was significantly different between the group 2 PH and nongroup 2 PH patients (2312 vs. 1762 mm, P<0.001). Interobserver concordance correlation for LA-MACSA was high at 0.91 (P<0.001). At a threshold of 2400 mm, LA-MACSA demonstrated 93% specificity for classifying group 2 PH (area under the curve, 0.73; P<0.001).LA-MACSA is a readily obtainable and reproducible measurement of left atrial enlargement on CT and can distinguish between group 2 and nongroup 2 PH with high specificity.
View details for DOI 10.1097/RTI.0000000000000252
View details for PubMedID 28009778
Novel approaches to pulmonary arterial hypertension drug discovery
EXPERT OPINION ON DRUG DISCOVERY
2016; 11 (4): 407-414
Fibrosis after solid organ transplantation is considered an irreversible process and remains the major cause of graft dysfunction and death with limited therapies. This remodeling is characterized by aberrant accumulation of contractile myofibroblasts that deposit excessive extracellular matrix (ECM) and increase tissue stiffness. However, studies demonstrate that a stiff ECM, itself, promotes fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation, stimulating further ECM production. This creates a positive feedback loop that perpetuates fibrosis. We hypothesized that simultaneously targeting myofibroblast contractility with relaxin and ECM stiffness with lysyl oxidase inhibitors could break the feedback loop, thereby, reversing established fibrosis. To test this, we used the orthotopic tracheal transplanted (OTT) mouse model, which develops robust fibrotic airway remodeling. Mice with established fibrosis were treated with saline, mono-, or combination therapies. While monotherapies had no effect, combining these agents decreased collagen deposition and promoted re-epithelialization of remodeled airways. Relaxin inhibited myofibroblast differentiation and contraction, in a matrix-stiffness-dependent manner through prostaglandin E2 (PGE2 ). Furthermore, the effect of combination therapy was lost in PGE2 receptor knockout and PGE2 inhibited OTT mice. This study reveals the important synergistic roles of cellular contractility and tissue stiffness in the maintenance of fibrotic tissue and suggests a new therapeutic principle for fibrosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1111/ajt.14103
View details for PubMedID 27804215
Recent advances in the management of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
2016; 5: 2755-?
Introduction Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder associated with abnormally elevated pulmonary pressures that, if untreated, leads to right heart failure and premature death. The goal of drug development for PAH is to develop effective therapies that halt, or ideally, reverse the obliterative vasculopathy that results in vessel loss and obstruction of blood flow to the lungs. Areas Covered This review summarizes the current approach to candidate discovery in PAH and discusses the currently available drug discovery methods that should be implemented to prioritize targets and obtain a comprehensive pharmacological profile of promising compounds with well-defined mechanisms. Expert opinion To improve the successful identification of leading drug candidates, it is necessary that traditional pre-clinical studies are combined with drug screening strategies that maximize the characterization of biological activity and identify relevant off-target effects that could hinder the clinical efficacy of the compound when tested in human subjects. A successful drug discovery strategy in PAH will require collaboration of clinician scientists with medicinal chemists and pharmacologists who can identify compounds with an adequate safety profile and biological activity against relevant disease mechanisms.
View details for DOI 10.1517/17460441.2016.1153625
View details for Web of Science ID 000372063000002
Leukotriene B-4 Activates Pulmonary Artery Adventitial Fibroblasts in Pulmonary Hypertension
2015; 66 (6): 1227-1239
Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in the development of therapeutics to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare but life-threatening disorder associated with progressive elevation of pulmonary pressures and severe right heart failure. Recently, the field has seen the introduction of riociguat, a soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, a new endothelin receptor antagonist (macitentan), and oral prostanoids (treprostinil and selexipag). Besides new drugs, there have been significant advances in defining the role of upfront combination therapy in treatment-naïve patients as well as proposed methods to deliver systemic prostanoids by use of implantable pumps. In this review, we will touch upon the most important developments in PAH therapeutics over the last three years and how these have changed the guidelines for the treatment of PAH. These exciting developments herald a new era in the treatment of PAH which will be punctuated by the use of more clinically relevant endpoints in clinical research trials and a novel treatment paradigm that may involve upfront double- or triple-combination therapy. We anticipate that the future will make use of these strategies to test the efficacy of upcoming new drugs that aspire to reduce disease progression and improve survival in patients afflicted with this devastating disease.
View details for PubMedID 27990270
Low-Dose FK506 (Tacrolimus) in End-Stage Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
2015; 192 (2): 254-257
Connective tissue disease-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Rheumatic diseases clinics of North America
2015; 41 (2): 295-313
A recent study demonstrated a significant role for leukotriene B4 (LTB4) causing pulmonary vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. LTB4 was found to directly injure luminal endothelial cells and promote growth of the smooth muscle cell layer of pulmonary arterioles. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of LTB4 on the pulmonary adventitial layer, largely composed of fibroblasts. Here, we demonstrate that LTB4 enhanced human pulmonary artery adventitial fibroblast proliferation, migration, and differentiation in a dose-dependent manner through its cognate G-protein-coupled receptor, BLT1. LTB4 activated human pulmonary artery adventitial fibroblast by upregulating p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase as well as Nox4-signaling pathways. In an autoimmune model of pulmonary hypertension, inhibition of these pathways blocked perivascular inflammation, decreased Nox4 expression, reduced reactive oxygen species production, reversed arteriolar adventitial fibroblast activation, and attenuated pulmonary hypertension development. This study uncovers a novel mechanism by which LTB4 further promotes pulmonary arterial hypertension pathogenesis, beyond its established effects on endothelial and smooth muscle cells, by activating adventitial fibroblasts.
View details for DOI 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.06370
View details for PubMedID 26558820
Graft microvascular disease in solid organ transplantation.
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)
2014; 92 (8): 797-810
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by vascular remodeling of pulmonary arterioles that leads to increased pulmonary vascular resistance, right heart failure, and death. It is associated with connective tissue diseases, including systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and mixed connective tissue disease. PAH is characterized by dyspnea on exertion and fatigue. Syncopal events suggest severe disease. Patients may present with signs of right heart failure. One- and 3-year survival rates are approximately 81% and 52%, respectively. Given the high prevalence and mortality, algorithms for screening are currently under investigation and will hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis and improved survival.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.rdc.2015.01.003
View details for PubMedID 25836644
Current Clinical Management of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
2014; 115 (1): 131-147
Alloimmune inflammation damages the microvasculature of solid organ transplants during acute rejection. Although immunosuppressive drugs diminish the inflammatory response, they do not directly promote vascular repair. Repetitive microvascular injury with insufficient regeneration results in prolonged tissue hypoxia and fibrotic remodeling. While clinical studies show that a loss of the microvascular circulation precedes and may act as an initiating factor for the development of chronic rejection, preclinical studies demonstrate that improved microvascular perfusion during acute rejection delays and attenuates tissue fibrosis. Therefore, preservation of a functional microvasculature may represent an effective therapeutic strategy for preventing chronic rejection. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the role of the microvasculature in the long-term survival of transplanted solid organs. We also highlight microvessel-centered therapeutic strategies for prolonging the survival of solid organ transplants.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00109-014-1173-y
View details for PubMedID 24880953
Leukotrienes in pulmonary arterial hypertension.
2014; 58 (2-3): 387-393
During the past 2 decades, there has been a tremendous evolution in the evaluation and care of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The introduction of targeted PAH therapy consisting of prostacyclin and its analogs, endothelin antagonists, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, and now a soluble guanylate cyclase activator have increased therapeutic options and potentially reduced morbidity and mortality; yet, none of the current therapies have been curative. Current clinical management of PAH has become more complex given the focus on early diagnosis, an increased number of available therapeutics within each mechanistic class, and the emergence of clinically challenging scenarios such as perioperative care. Efforts to standardize the clinical care of patients with PAH have led to the formation of multidisciplinary PAH tertiary care programs that strive to offer medical care based on peer-reviewed evidence-based, and expert consensus guidelines. Furthermore, these tertiary PAH centers often support clinical and basic science research programs to gain novel insights into the pathogenesis of PAH with the goal to improve the clinical management of this devastating disease. In this article, we discuss the clinical approach and management of PAH from the perspective of a single US-based academic institution. We provide an overview of currently available clinical guidelines and offer some insight into how we approach current controversies in clinical management of certain patient subsets. We conclude with an overview of our program structure and a perspective on research and the role of a tertiary PAH center in contributing new knowledge to the field.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.303827
View details for Web of Science ID 000337738900016
Promotion of airway anastomotic microvascular regeneration and alleviation of airway ischemia by deferoxamine nanoparticles.
2014; 35 (2): 803-813
Leukotrienes (LTs) are lipid mediators derived from the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism and are markers and mediators of pulmonary inflammation. Research over the past two decades has established that LTs modulate inflammation in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The purpose of this review was to summarize the current knowledge of LTs in the pathophysiology of PAH and to highlight a recent study that advances our understanding of how leukotriene B4 (LTB4) specifically contributes to pulmonary vascular remodeling. The results of these studies suggest that pharmacological inhibition of LT pathways, especially LTB4, has high potential for the treatment of PAH.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12026-014-8492-5
View details for PubMedID 24570092
Macrophages in solid organ transplantation.
2014; 6 (1): 5-?
Airway tissue ischemia and hypoxia in human lung transplantation is a consequence of the sacrifice of the bronchial circulation during the surgical procedure and is a major risk factor for the development of airway anastomotic complications. Augmented expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α promotes microvascular repair and alleviates allograft ischemia and hypoxia. Deferoxamine mesylate (DFO) is an FDA-approved iron chelator which has been shown to upregulate cellular HIF-1α. Here, we developed a nanoparticle formulation of DFO that can be topically applied to airway transplants at the time of surgery. In a mouse orthotopic tracheal transplant (OTT) model, the DFO nanoparticle was highly effective in enhancing airway microvascular perfusion following transplantation through the production of the angiogenic factors, placental growth factor (PLGF) and stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1. The endothelial cells in DFO treated airways displayed higher levels of p-eNOS and Ki67, less apoptosis, and decreased production of perivascular reactive oxygen species (ROS) compared to vehicle-treated airways. In summary, a DFO formulation topically-applied at the time of surgery successfully augmented airway anastomotic microvascular regeneration and the repair of alloimmune-injured microvasculature. This approach may be an effective topical transplant-conditioning therapy for preventing airway complications following clinical lung transplantation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.09.092
View details for PubMedID 24161166
Blocking Macrophage Leukotriene B-4 Prevents Endothelial Injury and Reverses Pulmonary Hypertension
SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
2013; 5 (200)
Macrophages are highly plastic hematopoietic cells with diversified functions related to their anatomic location and differentiation states. A number of recent studies have examined the role of macrophages in solid organ transplantation. These studies show that macrophages can induce allograft injury but, conversely, can also promote tissue repair in ischemia-reperfusion injury and acute rejection. Therapeutic strategies that target macrophages to improve outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients are being examined in preclinical and clinical models. In this review, we discuss the role of macrophages in different types of injury and rejection, with a focus on macrophage-mediated tissue injury, specifically vascular injury, repair and remodeling. We also discuss emerging macrophage-centered therapeutic opportunities in solid organ transplantation.
View details for DOI 10.1186/2045-824X-6-5
View details for PubMedID 24612731
A case of recurrent pericardial constriction presenting with severe pulmonary hypertension.
2013; 3 (2): 436-439
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a serious condition that affects mainly young and middle-aged women, and its etiology is poorly understood. A prominent pathological feature of PH is accumulation of macrophages near the arterioles of the lung. In both clinical tissue and the SU5416 (SU)/athymic rat model of severe PH, we found that the accumulated macrophages expressed high levels of leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H), the biosynthetic enzyme for leukotriene B4 (LTB4). Moreover, macrophage-derived LTB4 directly induced apoptosis in pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAECs). Further, LTB4 induced proliferation and hypertrophy of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. We found that LTB4 acted through its receptor, BLT1, to induce PAEC apoptosis by inhibiting the protective endothelial sphingosine kinase 1 (Sphk1)-endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) pathway. Blocking LTA4H decreased in vivo LTB4 levels, prevented PAEC apoptosis, restored Sphk1-eNOS signaling, and reversed fulminant PH in the SU/athymic rat model of PH. Antagonizing BLT1 similarly reversed established PH. Inhibition of LTB4 biosynthesis or signal transduction in SU-treated athymic rats with established disease also improved cardiac function and reopened obstructed arterioles; this approach was also effective in the monocrotaline model of severe PH. Human plexiform lesions, one hallmark of PH, showed increased numbers of macrophages, which expressed LTA4H, and patients with connective tissue disease-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension exhibited significantly higher LTB4 concentrations in the systemic circulation than did healthy subjects. These results uncover a possible role for macrophage-derived LTB4 in PH pathogenesis and identify a pathway that may be amenable to therapeutic targeting.
View details for Web of Science ID 000323705100010
A brief overview of mouse models of pulmonary arterial hypertension: problems and prospects
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LUNG CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR PHYSIOLOGY
2012; 302 (10): L977-L991
Chronic constrictive pericarditis (CP) is a relatively rare condition in which the pericardium becomes fibrotic and noncompliant, eventually resulting in heart failure due to impaired ventricular filling. The only curative treatment is pericardiectomy. Classically, CP does not usually cause severe pulmonary hypertension. When attempting to differentiate CP from restrictive cardiomyopathy, the presence of severely elevated pulmonary arterial pressure is used as a diagnostic criterion ruling against CP. We present a case of proven recurrent pericardial constriction following pericardiectomy presenting with severe pulmonary hypertension.
View details for DOI 10.4103/2045-8932.114780
View details for PubMedID 24015347
Regulatory T Cells Limit Vascular Endothelial Injury and Prevent Pulmonary Hypertension
2011; 109 (8): 867-U120
Many chronic pulmonary diseases are associated with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and pulmonary vascular remodeling, which is a term that continues to be used to describe a wide spectrum of vascular abnormalities. Pulmonary vascular structural changes frequently increase pulmonary vascular resistance, causing PH and right heart failure. Although rat models had been standard models of PH research, in more recent years the availability of genetically engineered mice has made this species attractive for many investigators. Here we review a large amount of data derived from experimental PH reports published since 1996. These studies using wild-type and genetically designed mice illustrate the challenges and opportunities provided by these models. Hemodynamic measurements are difficult to obtain in mice, and right heart failure has not been investigated in mice. Anatomical, cellular, and genetic differences distinguish mice and rats, and pharmacogenomics may explain the degree of PH and the particular mode of pulmonary vascular adaptation and also the response of the right ventricle.
View details for DOI 10.1152/ajplung.00362.2011
View details for Web of Science ID 000304357600001
View details for PubMedID 22307907
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3774477
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is an incurable disease associated with viral infections and connective tissue diseases. The relationship between inflammation and disease pathogenesis in these disorders remains poorly understood.To determine whether immune dysregulation due to absent T-cell populations directly contributes to the development of PAH.Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) blockade induced significant pulmonary endothelial apoptosis in T-cell-deficient rats but not in immune-reconstituted (IR) rats. T cell-lymphopenia in association with VEGFR2 blockade resulted in periarteriolar inflammation with macrophages, and B cells even prior to vascular remodeling and elevated pulmonary pressures. IR prevented early inflammation and attenuated PAH development. IR with either CD8 T cells alone or with CD4-depleted spleen cells was ineffective in preventing PAH, whereas CD4-depleting immunocompetent euthymic animals increased PAH susceptibility. IR with either CD4(+)CD25(hi) or CD4(+)CD25(-) T cell subsets prior to vascular injury attenuated the development of PAH. IR limited perivascular inflammation and endothelial apoptosis in rat lungs in association with increased FoxP3(+), IL-10- and TGF-β-expressing CD4 cells, and upregulation of pulmonary bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2)-expressing cells, a receptor that activates endothelial cell survival pathways.PAH may arise when regulatory T-cell (Treg) activity fails to control endothelial injury. These studies suggest that regulatory T cells normally function to limit vascular injury and may protect against the development of PAH.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.236927
View details for PubMedID 21868697