Research Papers: Pathology:

Mitochondrial transplantation attenuates hypoxic pulmonary hypertension

Liping Zhu, Jiwei Zhang, Juan Zhou, Yankai Lu, Songling Huang, Rui Xiao, Xiangyuan Yu, Xianqin Zeng, Bingxun Liu, Fangbo Liu, Mengxiang Sun, Mao Dai, Qiang Hao, Jiansha Li, Tao Wang, Tongfei Li and Qinghua Hu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:48925-48940. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10596

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Liping Zhu1,2, Jiwei Zhang1,2,3, Juan Zhou1,2,7, Yankai Lu1,2, Songling Huang1,2, Rui Xiao1,2, Xiangyuan Yu1,2, Xianqin Zeng1,2, Bingxun Liu1,2, Fangbo Liu1,2, Mengxiang Sun1,2, Mao Dai1,2, Qiang Hao1,2, Jiansha Li2,4, Tao Wang2,5, Tongfei Li6 and Qinghua Hu1,2

1 Department of Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medicine, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, Hubei, China

2 Key Laboratory of Pulmonary Diseases of Ministry of Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, Hubei, China

3 Department of Pathology, Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, Hubei, China

4 Department of Pathology, Tongji Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, Hubei, China

5 Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, Hubei, China

6 Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, China

7 Current address: Department of Clinical Laboratory of Xuzhou Central Hospital, Xuzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Qinghua Hu, email:

Keywords: hypoxia, mitochondria, transplantation, pulmonary hypertension, vasoconstriction, Pathology Section

Received: April 03, 2016 Accepted: June 30, 2016 Published: July 13, 2016


Mitochondria are essential for the onset of hypoxia-induced pulmonary vasoconstriction and pulmonary vascular-remodeling, two major aspects underlying the development of pulmonary hypertension, an incurable disease. However, hypoxia induces relaxation of systemic arteries such as femoral arteries and mitochondrial heterogeneity controls the distinct responses of pulmonary versus femoral artery smooth muscle cells to hypoxia in vitro. The aim of this study was to determine whether mitochondrial heterogeneity can be experimentally exploited in vivo for a potential treatment against pulmonary hypertension. The intact mitochondria were transplanted into Sprague-Dawley rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells in vivo via intravenous administration. The immune-florescent staining and ultrastructural examinations on pulmonary arteries confirmed the intracellular distribution of exogenous mitochondria and revealed the possible mitochondrial transfer from pulmonary artery endothelial cells into smooth muscle cells in part through their intercellular space and intercellular junctions. The transplantation of mitochondria derived from femoral artery smooth muscle cells inhibited acute hypoxia-triggered pulmonary vasoconstriction, attenuated chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling, and thus prevented the development of pulmonary hypertension or cured the established pulmonary hypertension in rats exposed to chronic hypoxia. Our findings suggest that mitochondrial transplantation possesses potential implications for exploring a novel therapeutic and preventive strategy against pulmonary hypertension.

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