Paxillin suppresses the proliferation of HPS rat serum treated PASMCs by up-regulating the expression of cytoskeletal proteins
Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a triad of advanced liver disease, intrapulmonary vasodilatation (IPVD), and arterial hypoxemia. The arterial hypoxemia induces pulmonary vascular remodelling (PVR). In recent studies, the role of the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) in PVR associated with HPS has been established; the changes in cytoskeletal proteins play an essential role in the proliferation of PASMCs. Little is known about the relevance of cytoskeletal protein expression or the molecular mechanisms of PVR associated with HPS. In addition, it has been identified that paxillin could influence the cytoskeletal protein expression by some important signaling pathways in many diseases, including lung cancer and liver cancer. In this study, we found that HPS rat serum from a common bile duct ligation (CBDL) rat model decreased the expression of cytoskeletal proteins (α-actin, α-tubulin, and destrin) and enhanced the expression levels of paxillin mRNA and protein in PASMCs. After silencing paxillin with siRNA, we found that the down-regulation of cytoskeletal protein expression, induced by the HPS rat serum, was reversed. Additionally, we reported that HPS rat serum improved the proliferation of PASMCs and down-regulation of paxillin could significantly inhibit this variation. These findings suggest that the up-regulation of cytoskeletal protein expression, induced by the paxillin, may cause the dysregulation of PASMC proliferation as well as play a fundamental role in PVR associated with HPS. In conclusion, down-regulation of paxillin by siRNA results in the inhibition of the dysregulation of cytoskeletal proteins and proliferation of PASMCs, suggesting a potential therapeutic effect on PVR associated with HPS.