Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a lethal disease characterized by excessive proliferation of pulmonary vascular endothelial cells (ECs). Hereditary PAH (HPAH) is often caused by mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 gene (BMPR2). However, the mechanisms by which these mutations cause PAH remain unclear. Therefore, we screened for dysregulated proteins in blood-outgrowth ECs of HPAH patients with BMPR2 mutations compared with healthy control subjects.
Methods and results: A total of 416 proteins were detected with 2-dimensional PAGE in combination with liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry analysis, of which 22 exhibited significantly altered abundance in blood-outgrowth ECs from patients with HPAH. One of these proteins, translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP), was selected for further study because of its well-established role in promoting tumor cell growth and survival. Immunostaining showed marked upregulation of TCTP in lungs from patients with HPAH and idiopathic PAH, associated with remodeled vessels of complex lesions. Increased TCTP expression was also evident in the SU5416 rat model of severe and irreversible PAH, associated with intimal lesions, colocalizing with proliferating ECs and the adventitia of remodeled vessels but not in the vascular media. Furthermore, silencing of TCTP expression increased apoptosis and abrogated the hyperproliferative phenotype of blood-outgrowth ECs from patients with HPAH, raising the possibility that TCTP may be a link in the emergence of apoptosis-resistant, hyperproliferative vascular cells after EC apoptosis.
Conclusion: Proteomic screening identified TCTP as a novel mediator of endothelial prosurvival and growth signaling in PAH, possibly contributing to occlusive pulmonary vascular remodeling triggered by EC apoptosis.
Keywords: apoptosis; blood vessels; hypertension, pulmonary; proteomics.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.