Pharmacological Alteration of Cellular Mechanical Properties in Pulmonary Arterial Smooth Muscle Cells of Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Shinichi Katsuragi, Nao Tatsumi, Mizuki Matsumoto, Jun Narita, Ryo Ishii, Hidehiro Suginobe, Hirofumi Tsuru, Renjie Wang, Shigetoyo Kogaki, Ryosuke Tanaka, Keiichi Ozono, Takaharu Okajima, Hidekazu Ishida


Background: Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is a progressive disease caused by vascular remodeling of the pulmonary arteries with elevated pulmonary vascular resistance. Recently, various pulmonary vasodilator drugs have become available in the clinical field, and have dramatically ameliorated the prognosis of IPAH. However, little is known about how the mechanical properties of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) are altered under drug supplementation.

Methods: Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to investigate the mechanical properties of PASMCs derived from a patient with IPAH (PAH-PASMCs) and a healthy control (N-PASMCs) which received the supplementation of clinically used drugs for IPAH: sildenafil, macitentan, and riociguat.

Results: PASMCs derived from PAH-PASMCs were stiffer than those derived from N-PASMCs. With sildenafil treatment, the apparent Young’s modulus (E0) of cells significantly decreased in PAH-PASMCs but remained unchanged in N-PASMCs. The decrease in E0 of PAH-PASMCs was also observed in macitentan and riociguat treatment. The stress relaxation AFM revealed that the decrease in E0 of PAH-PASMCs resulted from a decrease in the cell elastic modulus and/or increase in cell fluidity. The combination treatment of macitentan and riociguat showed an additive effect on cell mechanical properties, implying that this clinically accepted combination therapy for IPAH influences the intracellular mechanical components.

Conclusions: Pulmonary vasodilator drugs affect the mechanical properties of PAH-PASMCs, and there exists a mechanical effect of combination treatment on PAH-PASMCs.

Cardiol Res. 2021;12(4):231-237


Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Atomic force microscopy; Smooth muscle cells; Cellular mechanical properties; Elasticity; Fluidity

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Cardiology Research, bimonthly, ISSN 1923-2829 (print), 1923-2837 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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