NYMC Faculty Publications

Superoxide-Mediated Upregulation of MMP9 Participates in BMPR2 Destabilization and Pulmonary Hypertension Development

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: we previously reported in studies on organoid-cultured bovine pulmonary arteries that pulmonary hypertension (PH) conditions of exposure to hypoxia or endothelin-1 caused a loss of a cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) stabilization of bone morphogenetic protein receptor-2 (BMPR2) function, a known key process contributing to pulmonary hypertension development. Based on subsequent findings, these conditions were associated with an extracellular superoxide-mediated increase in matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) expression. We investigated if this contributed to PH development using mice deficient in MMP9. RESULTS: wild-type (WT) mice exposed to Sugen/Hypoxia (SuHx) to induce PH had increased levels of MMP9 in their lungs. Hemodynamic measures from MMP9 knockout mice (MMP9 KO) indicated they had attenuated PH parameters compared to WT mice based on an ECHO assessment of pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricular systolic pressure, and Fulton index hypertrophy measurements. In vitro vascular reactivity studies showed impaired endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent NO-associated vasodilatory responses in the pulmonary arteries of SuHx mice and decreased lung levels of COMP and BMPR2 expression. These changes were attenuated in MMP9 KO mice potentially through preserving COMP-dependent stabilization of BMPR2. INNOVATION: this study supports a new function of superoxide in increasing MMP9 and the associated impairment of BMPR2 in promoting PH development which could be a target for future therapies. CONCLUSION: superoxide, through promoting increases in MMP9, mediates BMPR2 depletion and its consequent control of vascular function in response to PH mediators and the SuHx mouse model of PH.