Prostanoid EP2 Receptors Are Up-Regulated in Human Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: A Key Anti-Proliferative Target for Treprostinil in Smooth Muscle Cells
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Prostacyclins are extensively used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a life-threatening disease involving the progressive thickening of small pulmonary arteries. Although these agents are considered to act therapeutically via the prostanoid IP receptor, treprostinil is the only prostacyclin mimetic that potently binds to the prostanoid EP2 receptor, the role of which is unknown in PAH. We hypothesised that EP2 receptors contribute to the anti-proliferative effects of treprostinil
... n human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), contrasting with selexipag, a non-prostanoid selective IP agonist. Human PASMCs from PAH patients were used to assess prostanoid receptor expression, cell proliferation, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels following the addition of agonists, antagonists or EP2 receptor small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Immunohistochemical staining was performed in lung sections from control and PAH patients. We demonstrate using selective IP (RO1138452) and EP2 (PF-04418948) antagonists that the anti-proliferative actions of treprostinil depend largely on EP2 receptors rather than IP receptors, unlike MRE-269 (selexipag-active metabolite). Likewise, EP2 receptor knockdown selectively reduced the functional responses to treprostinil but not MRE-269. Furthermore, EP2 receptor levels were enhanced in human PASMCs and in lung sections from PAH patients compared to controls. Thus, EP2 receptors represent a novel therapeutic target for treprostinil, highlighting key pharmacological differences between prostacyclin mimetics used in PAH.