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Jandl, K; Radic, N; Zeder, K; Kovacs, G; Kwapiszewska, G.
Pulmonary vascular fibrosis in pulmonary hypertension - The role of the extracellular matrix as a therapeutic target.
Pharmacol Ther. 2023; 247:108438 Doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2023.108438
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Jandl Katharina
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Kovacs Gabor
Kwapiszewska-Marsh Grazyna
Radic Nemanja
Zeder Katarina Eleonora

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Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a condition characterized by changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and vascular remodeling of distal pulmonary arteries. These changes result in increased vessel wall thickness and lumen occlusion, leading to a loss of elasticity and vessel stiffening. Clinically, the mechanobiology of the pulmonary vasculature is becoming increasingly recognized for its prognostic and diagnostic value in PH. Specifically, increased vascular fibrosis and stiffening resulting from ECM accumulation and crosslinking may be a promising target for the development of anti- or reverse-remodeling therapies. Indeed, there is a huge potential in therapeutic interference with mechano-associated pathways in vascular fibrosis and stiffening. The most direct approach is aiming to restore extracellular matrix homeostasis, by interference with its production, deposition, modification and turnover. Besides structural cells, immune cells contribute to the level of ECM maturation and degradation by direct cell-cell contact or the release of mediators and proteases, thereby opening a huge avenue to target vascular fibrosis via immunomodulation approaches. Indirectly, intracellular pathways associated with altered mechanobiology, ECM production, and fibrosis, offer a third option for therapeutic intervention. In PH, a vicious cycle of persistent activation of mechanosensing pathways such as YAP/TAZ initiates and perpetuates vascular stiffening, and is linked to key pathways disturbed in PH, such as TGF-β/BMPR2/STAT. Together, this complexity of the regulation of vascular fibrosis and stiffening in PH allows the exploration of numerous potential therapeutic interventions. This review discusses connections and turning points of several of these interventions in detail.

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