Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a fatal disease in which the wall thickening and narrowing of pulmonary microvessels progress due to complicated interactions among processes such as endothelial dysfunction, the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and adventitial fibrocytes, and inflammatory cell infiltration. Early diagnosis of patients with PAH is difficult and lung transplantation is the only last choice to save severely ill patients. However, the number of donors is limited. Many patients with PAH show rapid progression and a high degree of pulmonary arterial remodeling characterized by the abnormal proliferation of PASMCs, which makes treatment difficult even with multidrug therapy comprising pulmonary vasodilators. Thus, it is important to develop novel therapy targeting factors other than vasodilation, such as PASMC proliferation. In the development of PAH, inflammation and oxidative stress are deeply involved in its pathogenesis. Excessive proliferation and apoptosis resistance in PASMCs are key mechanisms underlying PAH. Based on those characteristics, we recently screened novel pathogenic proteins and have performed drug discovery targeting those proteins. To confirm the clinical significance of this, we used patient-derived blood samples to evaluate biomarker potential for diagnosis and prognosis. Moreover, we conducted high throughput screening and found several inhibitors of the pathogenic proteins. In this review, we introduce the recent progress on basic and clinical PAH research, focusing on the screening of pathogenic proteins and drug discovery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine