Pulmonary vascular remodeling patterns and expression of general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2) in pulmonary veno-occlusive disease

Esther J. Nossent, Fabrice Antigny, David Montani, Harm Jan Bogaard, Maria Rosa Ghigna, Me´lanie Lambert, Vincent Thomas de Montpre´ville, Barbara Girerd, Xavier Jai¨s, Laurent Savale, Olaf Mercier, Elie Fadel, Florent Soubrier, Olivier Sitbon, Ge´rald Simonneau, Anton Vonk Noordegraaf, Marc Humbert, Fre´de´ric Perros, Peter Dorfmu¨ller

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Background: Heritable pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD) is linked to mutations in the eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 4 (EIF2AK4) gene, leading to a loss of general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2). The role of GCN2 expression in pulmonary vascular remodeling remains obscure. We sought to identify specific histologic and biologic features in heritable PVOD. Methods: Clinical data and lung histology of 24 PVOD patients (12 EIF2AK4 mutation carriers, 12 non-carriers) were submitted to systematic histologic analysis and semiautomated morphometry. GCN2 expression was quantified by Western blotting in 24 PVOD patients, 44 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH; 23 bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II [. BMPR2] mutation carriers, 21 non-carriers), and 3 experimental pulmonary hypertension models. Results: PVOD patients showed a significant decrease of pulmonary arterial patency (p < 0.0001) compared with healthy controls. Histology of EIF2AK4 mutation carriers was distinctive from non-carriers regarding (1) arterial remodeling, with significantly more severe intimal fibrosis (p = 0.001), less severe medial hypertrophy (p = 0.001), and (2) stronger muscular hyperplasia of interlobular septal veins (p = 0.002). GCN2 expression was abolished in heritable PVOD (p < 0.0001), but also importantly decreased in sporadic PVOD (p = 0.03) as well as in heritable (p = 0.002) and idiopathic PAH (p = 0.003); moreover, GCN2 was abolished in 2 experimental pulmonary hypertension models and importantly decreased in 1 model (p < 0.0001 for all models). Conclusions: Pulmonary arterial remodeling in PVOD is present to an important extent. A significant decrease of GCN2 expression is a common denominator of all tested groups of PVOD and PAH, including their respective experimental models. Our results underline specific morphologic and biologic similarities between PAH and PVOD and let us consider both conditions rather in one large spectrum of disease than as two distinct and clear-cut entities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-655
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 4 gene
  • Experimental pulmonary hypertension
  • General control nonderepressible 2
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Pulmonary vascular remodeling
  • Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease

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