Injury-Induced Shedding of Extracellular Vesicles Depletes Endothelial Cells of Cav-1 (Caveolin-1) and Enables TGF-β (Transforming Growth Factor-β)-Dependent Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Suellen D.S. Oliveira, Jiwang Chen, Maricela Castellon, Mao Mao, J. Usha Raj, Suzy Comhair, Serpil Erzurum, Claudia L.M. Silva, Roberto F. Machado, Marcelo G. Bonini, Richard D. Minshall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective-To determine whether pulmonary arterial hypertension is associated with endothelial cell (EC)-Cav-1 (caveolin-1) depletion, EC-derived extracellular vesicle cross talk with macrophages, and proliferation of Cav-1 depleted ECs via TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β) signaling. Approach and Results-Pulmonary vascular disease was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by exposure to a single injection of VEGFRII (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor II) antagonist SU5416 (Su) followed by hypoxia (Hx) plus normoxia (4 weeks each-HxSu model) and in WT (wild type; Tie2.Cre-;Cav1lox/lox) and EC-Cav1-/- (Tie2.Cre+;Cav1fl/fl) mice (Hx: 4 weeks). We observed reduced lung Cav-1 expression in the HxSu rat model in association with increased Cav-1+ extracellular vesicle shedding into the circulation. Whereas WT mice exposed to hypoxia exhibited increased right ventricular systolic pressure and pulmonary microvascular thickening compared with the group maintained in normoxia, the remodeling was further increased in EC-Cav1-/- mice indicating EC Cav-1 expression protects against hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Depletion of EC Cav-1 was associated with reduced BMPRII (bone morphogenetic protein receptor II) expression, increased macrophage-dependent TGF-β production, and activation of pSMAD2/3 signaling in the lung. In vitro, in the absence of Cav-1, eNOS (endothelial NO synthase) dysfunction was implicated in the mechanism of EC phenotype switching. Finally, reduced expression of EC Cav-1 in lung histological sections from human pulmonary arterial hypertension donors was associated with increased plasma concentration of Cav-1, extracellular vesicles, and TGF-β, indicating Cav-1 may be a plasma biomarker of vascular injury and key determinant of TGF-β-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling. Conclusions-EC Cav-1 depletion occurs, in part, via Cav-1+ extracellular vesicle shedding into the circulation, which contributes to increased TGF-β signaling, EC proliferation, vascular remodeling, and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1202
Number of pages12
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • TGF-β
  • caveolin 1
  • endothelial cells
  • extracellular vesicles
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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