The Beneficial Effect of Suramin on Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Rats

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The Beneficial Effect of Suramin on Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Rats

Public Library of Science
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077073
  • Research Article


Background Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive disorder characterized by an increase in pulmonary artery pressure and structural changes in the pulmonary vasculature. Several observations indicate that growth factors play a key role in PH by modulating pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PA-SMC) function. In rats, established monocrotaline-induced PH (MCT-PH) can be reversed by blocking platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGF-R), epidermal growth factor receptors (EGF-R), or fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGF-R). All these receptors belong to the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family. Methods and Results We evaluated whether RTK blockade by the nonspecific growth factor inhibitor, suramin, reversed advanced MCT-PH in rats via its effects on growth-factor signaling pathways. We found that suramin inhibited RTK and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in cultured human PA-SMCs. Suramin inhibited PA-SMC proliferation induced by serum, PDGF, FGF2, or EGF in vitro and ex vivo. Treatment with suramin from day 1 to day 21 after monocrotaline injection attenuated PH development, as shown by lower values for pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, and distal vessel muscularization on day 21 compared to control rats. Treatment with suramin from day 21 to day 42 after monocrotaline injection reversed established PH, thereby normalizing the pulmonary artery pressure values and vessel structure. Suramin treatment suppressed PA-SMC proliferation and attenuated both the inflammatory response and the deposition of collagen. Conclusions RTK blockade by suramin can prevent MCT-PH and reverse established MCT-PH in rats. This study suggests that an anti-RTK strategy that targets multiple RTKs could be useful in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

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