Neprilysin regulates pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell phenotype through a platelet-derived growth factor receptor-dependent mechanism

Vijay Karoor, Masahiko Oka, Sandra J. Walchak, Louis B. Hersh, York E. Miller, Edward C. Dempsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Reduced neprilysin (NEP), a cell surface metallopeptidase, which cleaves and inactivates proinflammatory and vasoactive peptides, predisposes the lung vasculature to exaggerated remodeling in response to hypoxia. We hypothesize that loss of NEP in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells results in increased migration and proliferation. Pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells isolated from NEP mice exhibited enhanced migration and proliferation in response to serum and platelet-derived growth factor, which was attenuated by NEP replacement. Inhibition of NEP by overexpression of a peptidase dead mutant or knockdown by small interfering RNA in NEP cells increased migration and proliferation. Loss of NEP led to an increase in Src kinase activity and phosphorylation of PTEN, resulting in activation of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR). Knockdown of Src kinase with small interfering RNA or inhibition with PP2, a src kinase inhibitor, decreased PDGFR phosphorylation and attenuated migration and proliferation in NEP smooth muscle cells. NEP substrates, endothelin 1 or fibroblast growth factor 2, increased activation of Src and PDGFR in NEP cells, which was decreased by an endothelin A receptor antagonist, neutralizing antibody to fibroblast growth factor 2 and Src inhibitor. Similar to the observations in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, levels of phosphorylated PDGFR, Src, and PTEN were elevated in NEP lungs. Endothelin A receptor antagonist also attenuated the enhanced responses in NEP pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells and lungs. Taken together our results suggest a novel mechanism for the regulation of PDGFR signaling by NEP substrates involving Src and PTEN. Strategies that increase lung NEP activity/expression or target key downstream effectors, like Src, PTEN, or PDGFR, may be of therapeutic benefit in pulmonary vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-930
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • PTEN
  • Src
  • migration
  • neprilysin
  • smooth muscle cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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