The transient receptor potential vanilloid-3 regulates hypoxia-mediated pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells proliferation via PI3K/AKT signaling pathway

Cell Prolif. 2018 Jun;51(3):e12436. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12436. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Objectves: Transient receptor potential vanilloid 3 (TRPV3) is a member of the TRP channels family of Ca2+ -permeant cation channels. In this study, we aim to investigate the role of TRPV3 in pulmonary vascular remodeling and PASMCs proliferation under hypoxia.

Materials and methods: The expression of TRPV3 was evaluated in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and hypoxic rats, using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and immunohistochemistry. In vitro, MTT assay, flow cytometry, Western blotting and immunofluorescence were performed to investigate the effects of TRPV3 on proliferation of PASMCs.

Results: We found that, in vivo, the expression of TRPV3 was increased in patients with PAH and hypoxic rats. Right ventricular hypertrophy measurements and pulmonary pathomorphology data show that the ratio of the heart weight/tibia length (HW/TL), the right ventricle/left ventricle plus septum (RV/LV+S) and the medial width of the pulmonary artery were increased in chronic hypoxic rats. Moreover, the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), Cyclin D, Cyclin E and Cyclin A, phospho-CaMKII (p-CaMKII) were induced by hypoxia. In vitro, we revealed that hypoxia promoted PASMCs viability, increased the expression of PCNA, Cyclin D, Cyclin E, Cyclin A p-CaMKII, made more cells from G0 /G1 phase to G2 /M + S phase, enhanced the microtubule formation, and increased [Ca2+ ]i , which could be suppressed by Ruthenium Red, an inhibitor of TRPV3, and TRPV3 silencing has similar effects. Furthermore, the up-regulated expression of PCNA, Cyclin D, Cyclin E and Cyclin A, the increased number of cells in G2 /M and S phase, and the enhanced activation and expression of PI3K and AKT proteins induced by hypoxia and in presence of carvacrol (an agonist of TRPV3), was significantly attenuated by incubation of LY 294002, a specific inhibitor for PI3K/AKT.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that TRPV3 is involved in hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and promotes proliferation of PASMCs and the effect is, at least in part, mediated via the PI3K/AKT pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Male
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • RNA Interference
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Signal Transduction*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / physiology*
  • Vascular Remodeling


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV3 protein, rat
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt