Background: Direct evidence for Rho-kinase activation in patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) is still lacking. Methods and Results: Rho-kinase activity in circulating neutrophils was examined by determining the ratio of phosphorylated/total forms of myosin-binding subunit, a substrate of Rho-kinase, in 40 consecutive PH patients and 40 healthy controls. Next, Rho-kinase expression and activity was examined in isolated human lung tissues (5 patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension [IPAH], 5 controls) and vascular reactivity of isolated small human pulmonary arteries in vitro (4 IPAH, 4 controls). Rho-kinase activity in circulating neutrophils was significantly increased in the PH patients overall compared with controls (P<0.0001). Significant correlations were noted between Rho-kinase activity and the severity and duration of PAH (all P<0.05). Rho-kinase expression and activity in isolated lung tissues also were significantly increased in the IPAH patients compared with the controls (both P<0.0001). Endothelium-dependent relaxation was markedly impaired and serotonin-induced contraction (in the absence of the endothelium) markedly enhanced in the PAH patients compared with the controls, and the hypercontraction to serotonin was abolished by hydroxyfasudil, a specific Rho-kinase inhibitor. Conclusions: These results provide the first direct evidence for Rho-kinase activation in patients with PAH, suggesting the therapeutic importance of Rho-kinase in the disorder.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine