TLR4 regulates Pulmonary vascular homeostasis and remodeling via redox signaling

Liping Ma, Namasivayam Ambalavanan, Hui Liu, Yong Sun, Nirag Jhala, Wayne E. Bradley, Louis J. Dell'Italia, Sue Michalek, Hui Wu, Chad Steele, Raymond L. Benza, Yabing Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) contributes to morbidity and mortality of patients with lung and heart diseases. We demonstrated that hypoxia induced PAH and increased pulmonary arterial wall thickness in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in tolllike receptor 4 (TLR4-/-) spontaneously developed PAH, which was not further enhanced by hypoxia. Echocardiography determined right ventricular hypertrophy and decreased pulmonary arterial acceleration time were associated with the development of PAH in TLR4-/- mice. In pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC), hypoxia decreased TLR4 expression and induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Nox1/Nox4. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase decreased hypoxia-induced proliferation of wild-type PASMC. PASMC derived from TLR4-/- mice exhibited increased ROS and Nox4/Nox1 expression. Our studies demonstrate an important role of TLR4 in maintaining normal pulmonary vasculature and in hypoxia-induced PAH. Inhibition of TLR4, by genetic ablation or hypoxia, increases the expression of Nox1/Nox4 and induces PASMC proliferation and vascular remodeling. These results support a novel function of TLR4 in regulating the development of PAH and reveal a new regulatory axis contributing to TLR4 deficiency-induced vascular hypertrophy and remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-409
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Landmark
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Oxidative stress signals
  • Proliferation
  • Pulmonary smooth muscle cells
  • Remodeling
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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