Astragaloside IV attenuates hypoxia‑induced pulmonary vascular remodeling via the Notch signaling pathway.
Mol Med Rep. 2021 Jan ;23(1). Epub 2020 Nov 25. PMID: 33236156
The Notch signaling pathway participates in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation and apoptosis. Astragaloside IV (AS‑IV) is an effective antiproliferative treatment for vascular diseases. The present study aimed to investigate the protective effects and mechanisms underlying AS‑IV on hypoxia‑induced PASMC proliferation and pulmonary vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) model rats. Rats were divided into the following four groups: i) normoxia; ii) hypoxia (10% O); iii) treatment, hypoxia + intragastrical administration of AS‑IV (2 mg/kg) daily for 28 days; and iv) DAPT, hypoxia + AS‑IV treatment + subcutaneous administration of DAPT (10 mg/kg) three times daily. The effects of AS‑IV treatment on the development of hypoxia‑induced PAH, right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy and pulmonary vascular remodeling were examined. Furthermore, PASMCs were treated with 20 µmol/l AS‑IV under hypoxic conditions for 48 h. To determine the effect of Notch signaling in vascular remodeling and the potential mechanisms underlying AS‑IV treatment, 5 mmol/l γ‑secretase inhibitor [N‑[N‑(3,5‑difluorophenacetyl)‑L‑alanyl]‑S‑phenylglycine t‑butyl ester (DAPT)] was used. Cell viability and apoptosis were determined by performing the MTT assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Immunohistochemistry was conducted to detect the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Moreover, the mRNA and protein expression levels of Notch‑3, Jagged‑1, hes family bHLH transcription factor 5 (Hes‑5) and PCNA were measured via reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR and western blotting, respectively. Compared with the normoxic group, hypoxia‑induced PAH model rats displayed characteristics of PAH and RV hypertrophy, whereas AS‑IV treatment alleviated PAH and prevented RV hypertrophy. AS‑IV also inhibited hypoxia‑induced pulmonary vascular remodeling, as indicated by reduced wall thickness and increased lumen diameterof pulmonary arterioles, and decreased muscularization of distal pulmonary vasculature in hypoxia‑induced PAH model rats. Compared with normoxia, hypoxia promoted PASMC proliferation, whereas AS‑IV treatment inhibited hypoxia‑induced PASMC proliferation by downregulating PCNA expressionand. In hypoxia‑treated PAH model rats and cultured PASMCs, AS‑IV treatment reduced the expression levels of Jagged‑1, Notch‑3 and Hes‑5. Furthermore, Notch signaling inhibition via DAPT significantly inhibited the pulmonary vascular remodeling effect of AS‑IVand. Collectively, the results indicated that AS‑IV effectively reversed hypoxia‑induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and PASMC proliferation via the Notch signaling pathway. Therefore, the present study provided novel insights into the mechanism underlying the use of AS‑IV for treatment of vascular diseases, such as PAH.