Aims: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) occurs more frequently in women than men. Oestrogen and the oestrogen-metabolising enzyme cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) play a role in the development of PAH. Anorectic drugs such as dexfenfluramine (Dfen) have been associated with the development of PAH. Dfen mediates PAH via a serotonergic mechanism and we have shown serotonin to up-regulate expression of CYP1B1 in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Thus here we assess the role of CYP1B1 in the development of Dfen-induced PAH.
Methods and results: Dfen (5 mg kg(-1) day(-1) PO for 28 days) increased right ventricular pressure and pulmonary vascular remodelling in female mice only. Mice dosed with Dfen showed increased whole lung expression of CYP1B1 and Dfen-induced PAH was ablated in CYP1B1(-/-) mice. In line with this, Dfen up-regulated expression of CYP1B1 in PASMCs from PAH patients (PAH-PASMCs) and Dfen-mediated proliferation of PAH-PASMCs was ablated by pharmacological inhibition of CYP1B1. Dfen increased expression of tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1; the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of serotonin) in PAH-PASMCs and both Dfen-induced proliferation and Dfen-induced up-regulation of CYP1B1 were ablated by inhibition of Tph1. 17β-Oestradiol increased expression of both Tph1 and CYP1B1 in PAH-PASMCs, and Dfen and 17β-oestradiol had synergistic effects on proliferation of PAH-PASMCs. Finally, ovariectomy protected against Dfen-induced PAH in female mice.
Conclusion: CYP1B1 is critical in the development of Dfen-induced PAH in mice in vivo and proliferation of PAH-PASMCs in vitro. CYP1B1 may provide a novel therapeutic target for PAH.
Keywords: CYP1B1; Dexfenfluramine; Oestrogen; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Tryptophan hydroxylase.