Hypoxia-induced pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation is controlled by forkhead box M1

Raghavan A, Zhou G, Zhou Q, Ibe JC, Ramchandran R, Yang Q, Racherla H, Raychaudhuri P, Raj JU
Source: Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol
Publication Date: (2012)
Issue: 46(4): 431-6
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
SMC, pul.artery (PASMC), human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: artery
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease, and no effective treatments are available. Hypoxia-induced pulmonary artery remodeling, including smooth muscle cell proliferation, contributes to PAH, but the exact mechanisms underlying this abnormal process are largely undefined. The forkhead box M1 (FoxM1) transcription factor regulates cancer cell growth by modulating gene expression critical for cell cycle progression. Here, we report for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, a novel function of FoxM1 in the hypoxia-stimulated proliferation of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (HPASMCs). Exposure to hypoxia caused a marked up-regulation of FoxM1 gene expression, mainly at the transcription level, and this induction correlated with HPASMC cell proliferation. The knockdown of FoxM1 inhibited the hypoxia-stimulated proliferation of HPASMCs. We found that the knockdown of HIF-2a, but not HIF-1a, diminished FoxM1 induction in response to hypoxia. However, the knockdown of FoxM1 did not alter expression levels of HIF-2a or HIF-1a, suggesting that HIF-2a is an upstream regulator of FoxM1. Furthermore, the knockdown of FoxM1 prevented the hypoxia-induced expression of aurora A kinase and cyclin D1. Collectively, our results suggest that hypoxia induces FoxM1 gene expression in an HIF-2a-dependent pathway, thereby promoting HPASMC proliferation.