The pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is not fully under-stood, but evidence is accumulating that immune dysfunction plays a significant role. We previously reported that 31-week-old Tnfaip3DNGR1-KO mice develop pulmonary hypertension (PH) symptoms. These mice harbor a targeted deletion of the TNFα-induced protein-3 (Tnfaip3) gene, encoding the NF-κB regulatory protein A20, specifically in type I conventional dendritic cells (cDC1s). Here, we studied the involvement of dendritic cells (DCs) in PH in more detail. We found various immune cells, including DCs, in the hearts of Tnfaip3DNGR1-KO mice, particularly in the right ventricle (RV). Secondly, in young Tnfaip3DNGR1-KO mice, innate immune activation through airway exposure to toll-like receptor ligands essentially did not result in elevated RV pressures, although we did observe significant RV hypertrophy. Thirdly, PH symptoms in Tnfaip3DNGR1-KO mice were not enhanced by concomitant mutation of bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (Bmpr2), which is the most affected gene in PAH patients. Finally, in human IPAH lung tissue we found co-localization of DCs and CD8+ T cells, representing the main cell type activated by cDC1s. Taken together, these findings support a unique role of cDC1s in PAH pathogenesis, independent of general immune activation or a mutation in the Bmpr2 gene.

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Department of Pulmonology

van Uden, D., Koudstaal, T. (Thomas), van Hulst, J., Bergen, I., Gootjes, C. (Chelsea), Morrell, N.W. (Nicholas W.), … Hendriks, R. (2021). Central role of dendritic cells in pulmonary arterial hypertension in human and mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(4), 1–19. doi:10.3390/ijms22041756