Research Papers:

Lung tissue remodelling in MCT-induced pulmonary hypertension: a proposal for a novel scoring system and changes in extracellular matrix and fibrosis associated gene expression

Marcus Franz _, Katja Grün, Stefan Betge, Ilonka Rohm, Bernadin Ndongson-Dongmo, Reinhard Bauer, P. Christian Schulze, Michael Lichtenauer, Iver Petersen, Dario Neri, Alexander Berndt and Christian Jung

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:81241-81254. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13220

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Marcus Franz1, Katja Grün1, Stefan Betge2, Ilonka Rohm1, Bernadin Ndongson-Dongmo3, Reinhard Bauer3, P. Christian Schulze1, Michael Lichtenauer4, Iver Petersen5, Dario Neri6, Alexander Berndt5, Christian Jung7

1Department of Internal Medicine I, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

2Department of Angiology, Cardiovascular Center Bad Bevensen, Bad Bevensen, Germany

3Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, Center for Molecular Biomedicine, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

4Clinic of Internal Medicine II, Department of Cardiology, Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg, Austria

5Institute of Pathology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

6Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), Zurich, Switzerland

7Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany

Correspondence to:

Marcus Franz, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pulmonary hypertension, histological score, remodeling, extracellular matrix, fibronectin

Received: August 08, 2016     Accepted: October 27, 2016     Published: November 08, 2016


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with vasoconstriction and remodelling. We studied lung tissue remodelling in a rat model of PH with special focus on histology and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling. After induction of PH by monocrotaline, lung tissue was analysed histologically, by gene expression analysis and immunofluorescence labelling of ED-A domain containing fibronectin (ED-A+ Fn), B domain containing tenascin-C (B+ Tn-C) as well as alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Serum concentrations of ED-A+ Fn were determined by ELISA. Systolic right ventricular pressure (RVPsys) values were significantly elevated in PH (n = 18; 75 ± 26.4 mmHg) compared to controls (n = 10; 29 ± 19.3 mmHg; p = 0.015). The histological sum-score was significantly increased in PH (8.0 ± 2.2) compared to controls (2.5 ± 1.6; p < 0.001). Gene expression analysis revealed relevant induction of several key genes of extracellular matrix remodelling. Increased protein deposition of ED-A+ Fn but not of B+ Tn-C and α-SMA in lung tissue was found in PH (2.88 ± 3.19 area%) compared to controls (1.32 ± 0.16 area%; p = 0.030). Serum levels of ED-A+ Fn were significantly higher in PH (p = 0.007) positively correlating with RVPsys (r = 0.618, p = 0.019). We here present a novel histological scoring system to assess lung tissue remodelling in PH. Gene expression analysis revealed induction of candidate genes involved in collagen matrix turnover, fibrosis and vascular remodelling. The stable increased tissue deposition of ED-A+ Fn in PH as well as its dynamics in serum suggests a role as a promising novel biomarker and potential therapeutic target.

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