Compartment-specific expression of collagens and their processing enzymes in intrapulmonary arteries of IPAH patients

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015 May 15;308(10):L1002-13. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00383.2014. Epub 2015 Apr 3.


Alterations in extracellular matrix (ECM) have been implicated in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension. Here, we have undertaken a compartment-specific study to elucidate the expression profile of collagens and their processing enzymes in donor and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) pulmonary arteries. Predominant intimal, but also medial and perivascular, remodeling and reduced lumen diameter were detected in IPAH pulmonary arteries. Two-photon microscopy demonstrated accumulation of collagen fibers. Quantification of collagen in pulmonary arteries revealed collagen accumulation mainly in the intima of IPAH pulmonary arteries compared with donors. Laser capture-microdissected pulmonary artery profiles (intima+media and perivascular tissue) were analyzed by real-time PCR for ECM gene expression. In the intima+media of IPAH vessels, collagens (COL4A5, COL14A1, and COL18A1), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 19, and a disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM) 33 were higher expressed, whereas MMP10, ADAM17, TIMP1, and TIMP3 were less abundant. Localization of COLXVIII, its cleavage product endostatin, and MMP10, ADAM33, and TIMP1 was confirmed in pulmonary arteries by immunohistochemistry. ELISA for collagen XVIII/endostatin demonstrated significantly elevated plasma levels in IPAH patients compared with donors, whereas circulating MMP10, ADAM33, and TIMP1 levels were similar between the two groups. Endostatin levels were correlated with pulmonary arterial wedge pressure, and established prognostic markers of IPAH, right atrial pressure, cardiac index, 6-min walking distance, NH2-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, and uric acid. Expression of unstudied collagens, MMPs, ADAMs, and TIMPs were found to be significantly altered in IPAH intima+media. Elevated levels of circulating collagen XVIII/endostatin are associated with markers of a poor prognosis.

Keywords: collagen XVIII; endostatin; laser microdissection; vascular fibrosis; vascular remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Collagen / biosynthesis*
  • Endostatins / blood
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Male
  • Metalloproteases
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Artery / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Tunica Intima / metabolism*
  • Tunica Intima / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Endostatins
  • Collagen
  • Metalloproteases