1Yale Cardiovascular Research Center, Department of Internal Medicine and
2Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Address correspondence to: Michael Simons, YCVRC, 300 George St, Rm 773, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA. Phone: 203.737.4643; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published September 1, 2021 - More info
Endothelial cells (ECs) under physiologic and pathologic conditions are capable of substantial plasticity that includes the endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT). Notably, in the hypoxic pulmonary circulation EndMT likely drives increases in the pulmonary arterial blood pressure, leading to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, it is unclear whether suppressing EndMT can prevent PAH development or mitigate established disease. In this issue of the JCI, Woo et al. generated mice with EC-specific deletion of FGFR1 and -2 and mice with EC-specific expression of a constitutively active FGFR1 to determine the role of FGF signaling in PAH. Mice with FGFR1/2 deletion in ECs that were exposed to hypoxic conditions developed extensive EndMT and more severe PAH than control mice. Animals with the constitutively active endothelial FGFR were protected from hypoxia-induced EndMT and PAH development. These findings suggest that FGF signaling may promote vascular resilience and prevent hypoxia-induced development of EndMT and PAH.
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