TGF-β Signaling Promotes Pulmonary Hypertension Caused by Schistosoma Mansoni
Background—The pathogenic mechanisms underlying pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) due to schistosomiasis, one of the most common causes of pulmonary hypertension (PH) worldwide, remains unknown. We hypothesized that TGF-β signaling as a consequence of Th2 inflammation is critical for the pathogenesis of this disease.
Methods and Results—Mice sensitized and subsequently challenged with S. mansoni eggs developed PH associated with an increase in right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), thickening of the pulmonary artery media, and right ventricular hypertrophy. Rho-kinase dependent vasoconstriction accounted for about 60% of the increase in RVSP. The pulmonary vascular remodeling and PH were dependent on increased TGF-β signaling, as pharmacological blockade of the TGF-β ligand and receptor, and mice lacking Smad3 were significantly protected from Schistosoma-induced PH. Blockade of TGF-β signaling also led to a decrease in IL4 and IL13 concentrations, which drive the Th2 responses characteristic of schistosomiasis lung pathology. Lungs of patients with schistosomiasis-associated PAH have evidence of TGF-β signaling in their remodeled pulmonary arteries.
Conclusions—Experimental S. mansoni-induced pulmonary vascular disease relies on canonical TGF-β signaling.
- Received April 5, 2013.
- Revision received July 12, 2013.
- Accepted July 19, 2013.