Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (PH). However, the potential clinical value of HIF-1α as a therapeutic target in the treatment of PH has not yet been evaluated. In this study, an animal model of hypoxia-induced PH was established by exposing adult rats to 10% O2 for 3 weeks, and the effects of the lentivirus-mediated delivery of HIF-1α short hairpin RNA (shRNA) by intratracheal instillation prior to exposure to hypoxia on the manifestations of hypoxia-induced PH were assessed. The successful delivery of HIF-1α shRNA into the pulmonary arteries effectively suppressed the hypoxia-induced upregulation of HIF-1α, accompanied by the prominent attenuation the symptoms associated with hypoxia-induced PH, including the elevation of pulmonary arterial pressure, hypertrophy and hyperplasia of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), as well as the muscularization of pulmonary arterioles. In addition, the knockdown of HIF-1α in cultured rat primary PASMCs significantly inhibited the hypoxia-induced acceleration of the cell cycle and the proliferation of the PASMCs, suggesting that HIF-1α may be a direct mediator of PASMC hyperplasia in hypoxia-induced PH. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the potent suppressive effects of HIF-1α shRNA on hypoxia-induced PH and PASMC hyperplasia, providing evidence for the potential application of HIF-1α shRNA in the treatment of hypoxic PH.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α
- Pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells
- Pulmonary hypertension
- RNA interference