19 March 2020
Endothelial cells dysfunction is one of the hallmark pathogenic features of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Paeoniflorin (PF) is a monoterpene glycoside with endothelial protection, vasodilation, antifibrotic, anti–inflammatory and antioxidative properties. However, the effects of PF on PAH remain unknown.
Here, we investigated the efficacy of PF in the SU5416/hypoxia (SuHx) rat model of PAH. Human pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (HPAECs) were exposed to 1% O 2 with or without PF treatment.
Hemodynamics analysis showed that prophylactic treatment with PF (300 mg/kg i.g. daily for 21 days) significantly inhibited chronic hypoxia/SU5416-induced elevations of right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) and right ventricular hypertrophy index in rats. Meanwhile, PF significantly reduced pulmonary vascular remodeling, as well as alleviated collagen deposition in lungs and right ventricles in SuHx rats. Additionally, PF inhibited SuHx–induced down-regulation of endothelial marker (vascular endothelial cadherin) and up-regulation of mesenchymal markers (fibronectin and vimentin) in lung, suggesting that PF could inhibit SuHx–induced endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) in lung. Further in vitro studies confirmed that PF treatment suppressed hypoxia-induced EndMT in HPAECs, which was abolished by the knockdown of bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) in HPAECs.