Reversal of experimental pulmonary hypertension by PDGF inhibition

J Clin Invest. 2005 Oct;115(10):2811-21. doi: 10.1172/JCI24838.


Progression of pulmonary hypertension is associated with increased proliferation and migration of pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells. PDGF is a potent mitogen and involved in this process. We now report that the PDGF receptor antagonist STI571 (imatinib) reversed advanced pulmonary vascular disease in 2 animal models of pulmonary hypertension. In rats with monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension, therapy with daily administration of STI571 was started 28 days after induction of the disease. A 2-week treatment resulted in 100% survival, compared with only 50% in sham-treated rats. The changes in RV pressure, measured continuously by telemetry, and right heart hypertrophy were reversed to near-normal levels. STI571 prevented phosphorylation of the PDGF receptor and suppressed activation of downstream signaling pathways. Similar results were obtained in chronically hypoxic mice, which were treated with STI571 after full establishment of pulmonary hypertension. Moreover, expression of the PDGF receptor was found to be significantly increased in lung tissue from pulmonary arterial hypertension patients compared with healthy donor lung tissue. We conclude that STI571 reverses vascular remodeling and cor pulmonale in severe experimental pulmonary hypertension regardless of the initiating stimulus. This regimen offers a unique novel approach for antire-modeling therapy in progressed pulmonary hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzamides
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Pulmonary Artery / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Benzamides
  • Piperazines
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor