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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32701

Title: Characterization and Role of Krüppel-like Factor 2 in Models of Pulmonary Hypertension
Authors: Dungey, Alison
Advisor: Stewart, Duncan John
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: pulmonary hypertension
kreuppel-like factor 2
Issue Date: 21-Aug-2012
Abstract: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) results from endothelial cell (EC) damage leading to pulmonary vasoconstriction and arteriolar remodeling. Patients with PAH exhibit high pulmonary arterial pressures due to increased pulmonary vascular resistance and die of progressive right-sided heart failure. The pathogenesis of PAH is not completely understood, but involves processes which reflect abnormalities in EC function: an imbalance of vasodilators and constrictors, thrombosis, vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) hypertrophy and proliferation, and susceptibility to EC apoptosis. Therefore, it is important to investigate possible alterations in the underlying mechanisms that regulate EC structure and function. Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is a shear-responsive transcription factor, highly expressed in the pulmonary ECs under physiological conditions, and known to maintain EC homeostasis by acting as a master switch for a quiescent profile of EC gene transcription. We hypothesized that Klf2 expression is reduced in models of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and its down-regulation contributes to PH development; conversely, Klf2 overexpression is beneficial, and may represent a novel therapeutic target. The role of KLF2 in PH was characterized in two experimental rat models: the monocrotaline model of severe and lethal PAH, and the chronic hypoxia model of reversible hypoxic PH. In vivo Klf2 expression was manipulated using jetPEI® to enhance or reduce the activity of the KLF2 pathway. Plasmids containing short hairpin Klf2 (shKLF2) or Klf2, or empty plasmids were selectively delivered to the pulmonary microvasculature, and the effect on pulmonary hemodynamics, microvascular structure and function, along with various in vitro functional and molecular assays of EC activity, were assessed. Results suggest that reduced Klf2 expression may be a critical early event in EC activation and initiation of PAH; and, its persistent downregulation may play a role in the transition to a progressive and irreversible process. Data also suggests that an early therapeutic intervention to overexpress Klf2, can prevent the development of PH in both models tested when applied before the “irreversible” microvascular remodeling is present. However, once the full PAH phenotype is established, in particular in the presence advanced arteriolar remodeling, Klf2 gene transfer was unsuccessful in reversing the disease in the MCT model.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32701
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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