Sildenafil Inhibits Hypoxia-Induced Transient Receptor Potential Canonical Protein Expression in Pulmonary Arterial Smooth Muscle via cGMP-PKG-PPARγ Axis

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Abstract

Transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) proteins play important roles in chronically hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (CHPH). Previous results indicated that sildenafil inhibited TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression in rat distal pulmonary arteries (PAs). However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We undertook this study to investigate the downstream signaling of sildenafil’s regulation on TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Hypoxia-exposed rats (10% O2 for 21 d) and rat distal PASMCs (4% O2 for 60 h) were taken as models to mimic CHPH. Real-time PCR, Western blotting, and Fura-2-based fluorescent microscopy were performed for mRNA, protein, and Ca2+ measurements, respectively. The cellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) analogue 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-guanosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate sodium salt (CPT-cGMP) (100 μM) inhibited TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression, store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), and the proliferation and migration of PASMCs exposed to prolonged hypoxia. The inhibition of CPT-cGMP on TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression in PASMCs was relieved by either the inhibition or knockdown of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) expression. Under hypoxic conditions, CPT-cGMP increased PPARγ expression. This increase was abolished by the PKG antagonists Rp8 or KT5823. PPARγ agonist GW1929 significantly decreased TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression in PASMCs. Moreover, hypoxia exposure decreased, whereas sildenafil treatment increased, PKG and PPARγ expression in PASMCsex vivo, and in rat distal PAsin vivo. The suppressive effects of sildenafil on TRPC1 and TRPC6 in rat distal PAs and on the hemodynamic parameters of CHPH were inhibited by treatment with the PPARγ antagonist T0070907. We conclude that sildenafil inhibits TRPC1 and TRPC6 expression in PASMCs via cGMP-PKG-PPARγ-dependent signaling during CHPH.

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