T Lahm, I Petrache
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Recent research suggests that microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B) confers protection against hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (HPH) by inhibiting proliferation of pulmonary artery (PA) wall cells. We recently demonstrated that 17β-estradiol (E2), a sex hormone with known protective properties in HPH, increases lung LC3-II expression in chronically hypoxic male Sprague-Dawley rats. Stimulatory E2 effects on LC3-II were recapitulated in isolated hypoxic (1% O 2 for 48 h), but not room air-exposed primary rat PA endothelial cells (PAECs), and were accompanied by hypoxia-specific inhibitory effects on other parameters involved in proproliferative signaling (MAPK3/ERK1-MAPK1/ERK2 activation, VEGF secretion), as well as inhibitory effects on PAEC proliferation. Taken together, these results suggest that E2 mediates hypoxia-specific antiproliferative effects in PAECs, and that stimulation of autophagy may be one of the underlying mechanisms of E2-mediated protection in HPH. Viewed in the context of previously published data, these results indicate that LC3 1) exerts protective effects in the pathogenesis of HPH, and 2) may represent a potential target for future therapeutic interventions in HPH.
E-pub date: 
01 Jul 2012
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Greg Hannon