Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive lung disease diagnosed by an increase in pulmonary arterial blood pressure that is driven by a progressive vascular remodelling of small pulmonary arterioles. We have previously reported that tumor necrosis factor apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) protein expression is increased in pulmonary vascular lesions and pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) of patients with idiopathic PAH. The addition of recombinant TRAIL induces the proliferation and migration of PASMCs in vitro
. TRAIL is required for hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice, and blockade of TRAIL prevents and reduces disease development in other rodent models of PAH. Due to the availability of knockout and transgenic mice, murine models of disease are key to further advances in understanding the complex and heterogeneous pathogenesis of PAH. However, murine models vary in their disease severity, and are often criticized for lacking the proliferative pulmonary vascular lesions characteristic of PAH. The murine Sugen-hypoxic (SuHx) mouse model has recently been reported to have a more severe PAH phenotype consisting advanced pulmonary vascular remodelling. We therefore aimed to determine whether TRAIL was also required for the development of PAH in this model. C57BL/6 and TRAIL−/−
mice were exposed to normoxia, Sugen5416 alone, hypoxia or both Sugen5416 and hypoxia (SuHx). We report here that SuHx treated C57BL/6 mice developed more severe PAH than hypoxia alone, and that TRAIL−/−
mice were protected from disease development. These data further emphasise the importance of this pathway and support the use of the SuHx mouse model for investigating the importance of potential mediators in PAH pathogenesis.