BMP2 and TGFβ1 are functional antagonists of pathological remodeling in the arteries, heart, and lung; however, the mechanisms in VSMCs, and their disturbance in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), are unclear. We found a pro-proliferative TGFβ1-Stat3-FoxO1 axis in VSMCs, and PPARγ as inhibitory regulator of TGFβ1-Stat3-FoxO1 and TGFβ1-Smad3/4, by physically interacting with Stat3 and Smad3. TGFβ1 induces fibrosis-related genes and miR-130a/301b, suppressing PPARγ. Conversely, PPARγ inhibits TGFβ1-induced mitochondrial activation and VSMC proliferation, and regulates two glucose metabolism-related enzymes, platelet isoform of phosphofructokinase (PFKP, a PPARγ target, via miR-331-5p) and protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 3G (PPP1R3G, a Smad3 target). PPARγ knockdown/deletion in VSMCs activates TGFβ1 signaling. The PPARγ agonist pioglitazone reverses PAH and inhibits the TGFβ1-Stat3-FoxO1 axis in TGFβ1-overexpressing mice. We identified PPARγ as a missing link between BMP2 and TGFβ1 pathways in VSMCs. PPARγ activation can be beneficial in TGFβ1-associated diseases, such as PAH, parenchymal lung diseases, and Marfan's syndrome.
Keywords: FoxO1; PFKP; PPP1R3G; Smad3; Stat3; miR-130a/301b; miR331-5p; platelet isoform of phosphofructokinase; protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 3G; pulmonary arterial hypertension.
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