Endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis and apoptosis resistant proliferation have been proposed to play crucial roles in the development of featured plexiform lesions in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Subsequently, EC injury associated smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation facilitates vascular remodeling and eventually leads to narrowed vascular lumen, increased pulmonary vascular resistance, increased pulmonary arterial pressure, and right heart failure. The imbalance between cell death and proliferation occurs in every stage of pulmonary vascular remodeling and pathogenesis of PH, and involves every cell type in the vasculature including, but not limited to ECs, SMCs, and fibroblasts. Despite extensive studies, the detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms on how the transition from initial apoptosis of ECs to apoptosis resistant proliferation on ECs and SMCs remains unclear. Recent knowledge on autophagy, a conservative and powerful regulatory machinery existing in almost all mammalian cells, has shed light on the complex and delicate control on cell fate in the development of vascular remodeling in PH. In this review, we will discuss the recent understandings on how the cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy regulates cell death or proliferation in PH pathogenesis, particularly in pulmonary vascular remodeling involving ECs and SMCs.
- Pulmonary hypertension
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine