Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is an incurable condition leading to right ventricular failure and death and inflammation is postulated to be associated with vascular remodelling. Interleukin (IL)-33, a member of the "alarmin" family can either act on the membrane ST2 receptor or as a nuclear repressor, to regulate inflammation. We show, using immunohistochemistry, that IL-33 expression is nuclear in the vessels of healthy subjects whereas nuclear IL-33 is markedly diminished in the vessels of IPAH patients. This correlates with reduced IL-33 mRNA expression in their lung. In contrast, serum levels of IL-33 are unchanged in IPAH. However, the expression of the soluble form of ST2, sST2, is enhanced in the serum of IPAH patients. Knock-down of IL-33 in human endothelial cells (ECs) using siRNA is associated with selective modulation of inflammatory genes involved in vascular remodelling including IL-6. Additionally, IL-33 knock-down significantly increased sST2 release from ECs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that IL-33 bound multiple putative homeodomain protein binding motifs in the proximal and distal promoters of ST2 genes. IL-33 formed a complex with the histone methyltransferase SUV39H1, a transcriptional repressor. In conclusion, IL-33 regulates the expression of IL-6 and sST2, an endogenous IL-33 inhibitor, in primary human ECs and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of PAH through recruitment of transcriptional repressor proteins.
Keywords: Human endothelial cells; IL-33; Nuclear repressor; Pulmonary hypertension; Soluble ST2.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.