A reduction in pulmonary artery (PA) relaxation is a key event in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) pathogenesis. CFTR dysfunction in airway epithelial cells plays a central role in cystic fibrosis (CF); CFTR is also expressed in PAs and has been shown to control endothelium-independent relaxation.We aimed to delineate the role of CFTR in PAH pathogenesis through observational and interventional experiments in human tissues and animal models.RT-Q-PCR, confocal imaging and electron microscopy showed that CFTR expression was reduced in PAs from patients with idiopathic PAH (iPAH) and in rats with monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH). Moreover, using myograph on human, pig and rat PAs, we demonstrated that CFTR activation induces PAs relaxation. CFTR-mediated PA relaxation was reduced in PAs from iPAH patients and rats with monocrotaline- or chronic hypoxia-induced PH. Long-term in vivo CFTR inhibition in rats significantly increased right ventricular systolic pressure, which was related to exaggerated pulmonary vascular cell proliferation in situ and vessel neomuscularization. Pathologic assessment of lungs from patients with severe CF (F508del-CFTR) revealed severe PA remodeling with intimal fibrosis and medial hypertrophy. Lungs from homozygous F508delCftr rats exhibited pulmonary vessel neomuscularization. The elevations in right ventricular systolic pressure and end diastolic pressure in monocrotaline-exposed rats with chronic CFTR inhibition were more prominent than those in vehicle-exposed rats.CFTR expression is strongly decreased in PA smooth muscle and endothelial cells in human and animal models of PH. CFTR inhibition increases vascular cell proliferation and strongly reduces PA relaxation.
Hélène Le Ribeuz, Lucie To, Maria-Rosa Ghigna, Clémence Martin, Chandran Nagaraj, Elise Dreano, Catherine Rucker-Martin, Barbara Girerd, Jérôme Bouliguan, Christine Pechoux, Mélanie Lambert, Angèle Boet, Justin Issard, Olaf Mercier, Konrad Hoetzenecker, Boris Manoury, Frédéric Becq, Pierre-Régis Burgel, Charles-Henry Cottart, Andrea Olschewski, Isabelle Sermet-Gaudelus, Frédéric Perros, Marc Humbert, David Montani, Fabrice Antigny