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Transgenic expression of human matrix metalloproteinase-9 augments monocrotaline-induced pulmonary arterial hypertension in mice

George, Joseph; D'Armiento, Jeanine

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e328340a0e4
Original papers: Blood vessels

Objectives Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by intimal lesions, right ventricular hypertrophy, and adventitial thickening of pulmonary arteries with progressive pulmonary hypertension. This investigation was aimed to examine the effects of transgenic expression of human matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in the pathogenesis of PAH.

Methods PAH was induced using serial subcutaneous administration of monocrotaline (MCT). Right ventricular pressure was measured through the right jugular vein using a 1.4F Millar Mikro-tip catheter-transducer. Zymography, western blotting, and quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) were carried out for MMP-9. Immunohistochemistry was performed for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and Mac-3 antigen.

Results Measurement of right ventricular pressure demonstrated 2.5-fold and 3.7-fold elevation after the administration of MCT in wild-type and MMP-9 transgenic mice, respectively. Zymography, western blotting, and qRT-PCR depicted increased activity and expression of MMP-9 after treatment with MCT, which were augmented in transgenic mice. There was marked pulmonary inflammation with extensive infiltration of mononuclear cells, which was more intense in MMP-9 transgenic mice. SMA and Mac-3 staining demonstrated hypertrophy of pulmonary arteries with occlusion of precapillary vessels and extensive infiltration of macrophages, respectively. All these changes were aggravated in MCT-treated MMP-9 transgenic mice when compared to normal littermates.

Conclusion Our study demonstrated that the MCT-induced PAH in mouse is a reproducible and potentially valuable animal model for the human disease. Our results further demonstrated that MMP-9 plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of PAH and effective blocking of MMP-9 could provide an option in the therapeutic intervention of human PAH.

Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Received 21 April, 2010

Revised 14 September, 2010

Accepted 15 September, 2010

Correspondence to Joseph George, PhD, Department of Medicine, Division of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10029, USA Tel: +1 212 659 9217; fax: +1 212 849 2574; e-mails:,

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.