Similar to cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by vascular remodeling, which leads to obliteration of the small pulmonary arteriole, with marked proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) and/or endothelial cells dysfunction. Aberrant expression of tumor suppressor genes is closely associated with susceptibility to PAH. We hypothesized that α-solanine, a glycoalkaloid found in members of the nightshade family known to have antitumor activity in different cancers, reverses experimental PAH by activating the tumor suppressor-axis inhibition protein 2 (AXIN2).Methods and results:
We investigated the effects of α-solanine on PASMC proliferation and apoptosis by using 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine proliferation assay, proliferating cell nuclear antigen and Ki67 staining, TUNEL and Anexine V assays. Scratch wound healing and tube formation assays were also used to study migration of endothelial cells. In vitro, we demonstrated, using cultured human PASMC from PAH patients, that α-solanine reversed dysfunctional AXIN2, β-catenin and bone morphogenetic protein receptor type-2 signaling, whereas restored [Ca2+]i, IL-6 and IL-8, contributing to the decrease of PAH–PASMC proliferation and resistance to apoptosis. Meanwhile, α-solanine inhibits proliferation, migration and tube formation of PAH–pulmonary artery endothelial cells by inhibiting Akt/GSK-3α activation. In vivo, α-solanine administration decreases distal pulmonary arteries remodeling, mean pulmonary arteries pressure and right ventricular hypertrophy in both monocrotaline-induced and Sugen/hypoxia-induced PAH in mice.Conclusion:
This study demonstrates that AXIN2/β-catenin axis and Akt pathway can be therapeutically targeted by α-solanine in PAH. α-Solanine could be used as a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of PAH.