Research Papers: Pathology:

Inhibition of heat shock protein 90 improves pulmonary arteriole remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Guo-Kun Wang, Song-Hua Li, Zhi-Min Zhao, Su-Xuan Liu, Guan-Xin Zhang, Fan Yang, Yang Wang, Feng Wu, Xian-Xian Zhao and Zhi-Yun Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:54263-54273. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10855

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Guo-Kun Wang1,*, Song-Hua Li2,*, Zhi-Min Zhao1, Su-Xuan Liu2, Guan-Xin Zhang1, Fan Yang1, Yang Wang1, Feng Wu3, Xian-Xian Zhao2 and Zhi-Yun Xu1

1 Institution of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

2 Department of Cardiology, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Cardiology, 98th Military Hospital, Huzhou, Zhejiang, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhi-yun Xu, email:

Xian-Xian Zhao, email:

Keywords: pulmonary arterial hypertension, heat shock protein 90, pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, pulmonary arteriole remodeling, Pathology Section

Received: November 13, 2015 Accepted: July 17, 2016 Published: July 26, 2016


While the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is involved in a multitude of physiological and pathological processes, its role relating to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effect in which HSP90 improves pulmonary arteriole remodeling, and explored the therapeutic utility of targeting HSP90 as therapeutic drug for PAH. By Elisa and immunohistochemistry, HSP90 was found to be increased in both plasma and membrane walls of pulmonary arterioles from PAH patients. Moreover, plasma HSP90 levels positively correlated with mean pulmonary arterial pressure and C-reactive protein. In a monocrotaline-induced rat model of PH, we found that 17-AAG, a HSP90-inhibitor, alleviated the progress of PH, demonstrated by lower pulmonary arterial pressure and absence of right ventricular hypertrophy. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that 17-AAG improved pulmonary arteriole remodeling on the basis of reduced wall thickness and wall area. The inflammatory response attributed to PH could be attenuated by 17-AAG through reduction of NF-κB signaling. Moreover, 17-AAG was found to suppress PDGF-stimulated proliferation and migration of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) through induction of cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase. In conclusion, HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG could improve pulmonary arteriole remodeling via inhibiting the excessive proliferation of PASMCs, and inhibition of HSP90 may represent a therapeutic avenue for the treatment of PAH.

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