Fessel, J P, et al., Metabolomic Analysis of Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor Type 2 Mutations in Human Pulmonary Endothelium Reveals Widespread Metabolic Reprogramming. Pulmonary Circulation, 2012. 2(2): 201-213.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease of the lung vasculature for which the molecular etiologies are unclear. Specific metabolic alterations have been identified in animal models and in PAH patients, though existing data focus mainly on abnormalities of glucose homeostasis. We hypothesized that analysis of the entire metabolome in PAH would reveal multiple other metabolic changes relevant to disease pathogenesis and possible treatment. Layered transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses of human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (hPMVEC) expressing two different disease-causing mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) confirmed previously described increases in aerobic glycolysis but also uncovered significant upregulation of the pentose phosphate pathway, increases in nucleotide salvage and polyamine biosynthesis pathways, decreases in carnitine and fatty acid oxidation pathways, and major impairment of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and failure of anaplerosis. As a proof of principle, we focused on the TCA cycle, predicting that isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) activity would be altered in PAH, and then demonstrating increased IDH activity not only in cultured hPMVEC expressing mutant BMPR2 but also in the serum of PAH patients. These results suggest that widespread metabolic changes are an important part of PAH pathogenesis, and that simultaneous identification and targeting of the multiple involved pathways may be a more fruitful therapeutic approach than targeting of any one individual pathway.

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