DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.14496 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 14496: HIF2a Activation Reduces Pulmonary Angiogenesis and Promotes Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension by Suppressing Wnt7a Production in Pulmonary Endothelial Cells

Ankita Mitra, Dan Yi, Stuti Agarwal, Amy Tian, Xinguo Jiang, Mark Nicolls, Zhiyu Dai, Vinicio A Dejesus
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Dysfunctional angiogenesis and obliterative vasculopathy are hallmarks of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Inappropriate HIF1a/2a activation and insufficient Wnt7a production are associated with pulmonary artery endothelial cell (PAEC) dysfunction, suggesting that HIF1a/2a and Wnt7a may interact as part of a signaling axis to promote PAEC homeostasis.

Hypothesis: HIF1a/2a overactivation suppresses Wnt7a expression in PAH PAECs.

Methods: Healthy and PAH PMVECs were obtained from explanted lungs. Cobalt Chloride (CoCl2) was used to activate HIF. PMVECs were transfected with lentiviruses carrying HIF1a/2a constructs, followed by functional and molecular studies. Lungs from mice with endothelial-specific HIF1a/2a activation (Egln1 Tie2Cre ) and HIF2a deletion (EH2) were analyzed via single cell (sc) RNA-seq and confocal imaging.

Results: Compared to controls, PAH lung tissue and PAECs demonstrated an inverse correlation between increased HIF1a/2a, and reduced Wnt7a expression. Treatment with CoCl2 for 24 hours resulted in a ~4-fold increase in Wnt7a transcription that was absent in PAH PMVECs. Lentivirus transfection of healthy PAEC demonstrated that HIF1a increased Wnt7a transcription while HIF2a significantly reduced Wnt7a transcription. In silico analysis of the Wnt7a gene locus demonstrated HIF binding sites at promoter-enhancer sequences suggesting that Wnt7a is a gene target of HIF signaling. In addition, ATAC-seq and ChIP-seq analysis of the Wnt7a gene locus in PAH PMVECs indicated a closed chromatin configuration, suggesting epigenetic repression. Lung scRNA-seq and RNAScope analysis of Egln1 Tie2Cre mice demonstrated a reduction of capillary EC, which was absent in EH2 mice, suggesting a HIF2a-dependent mechanism. Confocal and WB of lung tissues demonstrate that Wnt7a expression was significantly reduced in Egln1 Tie2Cre mice but preserved in EH2 mice.

Conclusions: HIF2a and epigenetic repression contribute to PAEC dysfunction by suppressing Wnt7a-dependent angiogenesis in PAH. We speculate that Wnt7a may also be required to maintain the capillary EC phenotype in the lung and that restoring Wnt7a production could compensate for HIF-driven endothelial dysfunction in PAH.

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