Erythropoietin Attenuates Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling in Experimental Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension through Interplay between Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Heme Oxygenase

van Loon, R. L. E., Bartelds, B., Wagener, F. A. D. T. G., Affara, N., Mohaupt, S., Wijnberg, H., Pennings, S. W. C., Takens, J. & Berger, R. M. F., 28-Aug-2015, In : Frontiers in Pediatrics. 3, 10 p., 71.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Rosa Laura E van Loon
  • Beatrijs Bartelds
  • Frank A D T G Wagener
  • Nada Affara
  • Saffloer Mohaupt
  • Hans Wijnberg
  • Sebastiaan W C Pennings
  • Janny Takens
  • Rolf M F Berger

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a pulmonary vascular disease with a high mortality, characterized by typical angio-proliferative lesions. Erythropoietin (EPO) attenuates pulmonary vascular remodeling in PAH. We postulated that EPO acts through mobilization of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and activation of the cytoprotective enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1).

METHODS: Rats with flow-associated PAH, resembling pediatric PAH, were treated with HO-1 inducer EPO in the presence or absence of the selective HO-activity inhibitor tin-mesoporphyrin (SnMP). HO activity, circulating EPCs and pulmonary vascular lesions were assessed after 3 weeks.

RESULTS: In PAH rats, circulating EPCs were decreased and HO activity was increased compared to control. EPO treatment restored circulating EPCs and improved pulmonary vascular remodeling, as shown by a reduced wall thickness and occlusion rate of the intra-acinar vessels. Inhibition of HO activity with SnMP aggravated PAH. Moreover, SnMP treatment abrogated EPO-induced amelioration of pulmonary vascular remodeling, while surprisingly further increasing circulating EPCs as compared with EPO alone.

CONCLUSION: In experimental PAH, EPO treatment restored the number of circulating EPCs to control level, improved pulmonary vascular remodeling, and showed important interplay with HO activity. Inhibition of increased HO activity in PAH rats exacerbated progression of pulmonary vascular remodeling, despite the presence of restored number of circulating EPCs. We suggest that both EPO-induced HO-1 and EPCs are promising targets to ameliorate the pulmonary vasculature in PAH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 28-Aug-2015


  • hemodynamics, pulmonary vascular remodeling, neointimal lesions, aorto-caval shunt, pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular hypertrophy

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