Pinocembrin ex vivo preconditioning improves the therapeutic efficacy of endothelial progenitor cells in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats
Pulmonary hypertension is still not curable and the available current therapies can only alleviate symptoms without hindering the progression of disease. The present study was directed to investigate the possible modulatory effect of pinocembrin on endothelial progenitor cells transplanted in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Pulmonary hypertension was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of monocrotaline (60 mg/kg). Endothelial progenitor cells were in vitro preconditioned with pinocembrin (25 mg/L) for 30 min before being i.v. injected into rats 2 weeks after monocrotaline administration. Four weeks after monocrotaline administration, blood pressure, electrocardiography and right ventricular systolic pressure were recorded. Rats were sacrificed and serum was separated for determination of endothelin-1 and asymmetric dimethylarginine levels. Right ventricles and lungs were isolated for estimation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and transforming growth factor-beta contents as well as caspase-3 activity. Moreover, protein expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase in addition to myocardial connexin-43 was assessed. Finally, histological analysis of pulmonary arteries, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area and right ventricular hypertrophy was performed and cryosections were done for estimation of cell homing. Preconditioning with pinocembrin provided a significant improvement in endothelial progenitor cells’ effect towards reducing monocrotaline-induced elevation of inflammatory, fibrogenic and apoptotic markers. Furthermore, preconditioned cells induced a significant amelioration of endothelial markers and cell homing and prevented monocrotaline-induced changes in right ventricular function and histological analysis compared with native cells alone. In conclusion, pinocembrin significantly improves the therapeutic efficacy of endothelial progenitor cells in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.