2014 Volume 126 Issue 2 Pages 155-163
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of echinacoside (ECH) on hypoxia-induced proliferation of rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and the underlying mechanism. PASMCs were incubated under normoxia (nor), hypoxia (hyp), hypoxia + 0.35 mM ECH (hyp + ECH0.35), or hypoxia + 0.4 mM ECH (hyp + ECH0.4) for 24 h. Cell viability was assessed by MTS assays. The morphology of apoptosis was observed by DAPI staining, and apoptosis was quantified by flow cytometric analysis. Caspase-3 activity was determined by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, and the expressions of HIF-1α, Bax, Bcl-2, and Fas were determined by real-time PCR. Hypoxia induced significant proliferation of PASMCs, which could be inhibited by ECH in a concentration-dependent manner. This was associated with apoptosis of PASMCs. Z-DEVD-FMK could partly reduce the suppression effect of ECH; protein and gene expression of caspase-3 were significantly higher in the hyp + ECH0.4 and hyp + ECH0.35 groups. ECH significantly increased the expressions of Bax and Fas, but decreased the expressions of Bcl-2 and HIF-1α. ECH could inhibit hypoxia-induced proliferation of rat PASMCs, which is associated with apoptosis of PASMCs and improvement of hypoxia. ECH might be a potential agent for prevention and treatment of hypoxia-induced PAH.