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BMP signalling in pulmonary hypertension
S99 The anti-malarial drug and lysosomal inhibitor, chloroquine, increases cell surface expression of BMPR-II
  1. B J Dunmore,
  2. L Long,
  3. X D Yang,
  4. A Crosby,
  5. N W Morrell
  1. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


Bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II (BMPR-II) is a member of the transforming growth factor ß (TGFß) receptor superfamily. Mutations in BMPR2 are the major cause of familial pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Reduced BMPR-II expression is significantly reduced in both familial and idiopathic PAH patients. We have shown previously that BMPR-II expression is regulated via a lysosomal degradative pathway. The anti-malarial drug, chloroquine, blocks lysosomal degradation by raising lysosomal pH and impairs autophagic protein degradation. Using an experimental rat model of PAH we observed that chloroquine administration prevented an increase in right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) and vascular remodelling following monocrotaline (MCT) treatment. BMPR-II expression was significantly increased in lungs from chloroquine treated rats. Furthermore, in cellular localisation studies chloroquine increased BMPR-II cell surface expression.

Methods Male Sprague-Dawley rats received a single subcutaneous injection of MCT to induce PAH. To assess prevention or inhibition of PAH progression, animals received chloroquine, or vehicle, by daily intraperitoneal injection from day 1 to 21 or day 21 to 31 post MCT injections, respectively. Rats were anaesthetised for haemodynamic assessment and lung tissue collected for immunohistochemistry and protein isolation. Muscularisation of small pulmonary arteries was assessed in lung tissue sections by staining with anti-smooth muscle actin. BMPR-II protein expression was determined in frozen lung tissue using western blotting. Cellular localisation of BMPR-II expression in a lung fibroblast cell line that stably expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged BMPR-II was determined using immunofluorescence and biotinylation of cell surface BMPR-II using NHS-Biotin-SS labelling and precipitation with avidin agarose beads. BMPR-II cell surface expression was then determined by GFP immunoblotting.

Results Chloroquine prevented experimental PAH by significantly decreasing RVSP, RVH and muscularisation in MCT-treated rats. Treatment with chloroquine dramatically increased BMPR-II protein levels in the lung. Furthermore, chloroquine treatment inhibited MCT-induced PAH. This was associated with an increase in cell surface BMPR-II expression in a cell line that stably expresses the GFP-tagged receptor.

Conclusion This study demonstrates the potential use of chloroquine as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of PAH by potentially increasing levels of BMPR-II at the cell surface.

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