Imperial College London

Professor Martin Wilkins

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Vice Dean (Research) Faculty of Medicine
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 3313 2049m.wilkins

 
 
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Location

 

NIHR / Wellcome Trust Clinical Research FacilityICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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195 results found

Attard M, Dawes T, Simoes Monteiro de Marvao A, Biffi C, Shi W, Wharton J, Rhodes C, Ghataorhe P, Gibbs J, Howard L, Rueckert D, Wilkins M, O'Regan Det al., 2019, Metabolic pathways associated with right ventricular adaptation to pulmonary hypertension: Three dimensional analysis of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, EHJ Cardiovascular Imaging / European Heart Journal - Cardiovascular Imaging, Vol: 20, Pages: 668-676, ISSN: 2047-2412

AimsWe sought to identify metabolic pathways associated with right ventricular (RV) adaptation to pulmonary hypertension (PH). We evaluated candidate metabolites, previously associated with survival in pulmonary arterial hypertension, and used automated image segmentation and parametric mapping to model their relationship to adverse patterns of remodelling and wall stress.Methods and resultsIn 312 PH subjects (47.1% female, mean age 60.8 ± 15.9 years), of which 182 (50.5% female, mean age 58.6 ± 16.8 years) had metabolomics, we modelled the relationship between the RV phenotype, haemodynamic state, and metabolite levels. Atlas-based segmentation and co-registration of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was used to create a quantitative 3D model of RV geometry and function—including maps of regional wall stress. Increasing mean pulmonary artery pressure was associated with hypertrophy of the basal free wall (β = 0.29) and reduced relative wall thickness (β = −0.38), indicative of eccentric remodelling. Wall stress was an independent predictor of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio = 1.27, P = 0.04). Six metabolites were significantly associated with elevated wall stress (β = 0.28–0.34) including increased levels of tRNA-specific modified nucleosides and fatty acid acylcarnitines, and decreased levels (β = −0.40) of sulfated androgen.ConclusionUsing computational image phenotyping, we identify metabolic profiles, reporting on energy metabolism and cellular stress-response, which are associated with adaptive RV mechanisms to PH.

Journal article

Wei W, Tuna S, Keogh MJ, Smith KR, Aitman TJ, Beales PL, Bennett DL, Gale DP, Bitner-Glindzicz MAK, Black GC, Brennan P, Elliott P, Flinter FA, Floto RA, Houlden H, Irving M, Koziell A, Maher ER, Markus HS, Morrell NW, Newman WG, Roberts I, Sayer JA, Smith KGC, Taylor JC, Watkins H, Webster AR, Wilkie AOM, Williamson C, Attwood A, Brown M, Brod NC, Crisp-Hihn A, Davis J, Deevi SVV, Dewhurst EF, Edwards K, Erwood M, Fox J, Frary AJ, Hu F, Jolley J, Kingston N, Linger R, Mapeta R, Martin J, Meacham S, Papadia S, Rayner-Matthews PJ, Samarghitean C, Shamardina O, Simeoni I, Staines S, Staples E, Stark H, Stephens J, Titterton C, Tuna S, von Ziegenweidt J, Watt C, Whitehorn D, Wood Y, Yates K, Yu P, James R, Ashford S, Penkett CJ, Stirrups KE, Bariana T, Lentaigne C, Sivapalaratnam S, Westbury SK, Allsup DJ, Bakchoul T, Biss T, Boyce S, Collins J, Collins PW, Curry NS, Downes K, Dutt T, Erber WN, Evans G, Everington T, Favier R, Gomez K, Greene D, Gresele P, Hart D, Kazmi R, Kelly AM, Lambert M, Madan B, Mangles S, Mathias M, Millar C, Obaji S, Peerlinck K, Roughley C, Schulman S, Scully M, Shapiro SE, Sibson K, Simeoni I, Sims MC, Tait RC, Talks K, Thys C, Toh C-H, Van Geet C, Westwood J-P, Papadia S, Mumford AD, Ouwehand WH, Freson K, Laffan MA, Tan RYY, Harkness K, Mehta S, Muir KW, Hassan A, Traylor M, Drazyk AM, Markus HS, Parry D, Ahmed M, Kazkaz H, Vandersteen AM, Aitman TJ, Ormondroyd E, Thomson K, Dent T, Brennan P, Buchan RJ, Bueser T, Carr-White G, Cook S, Daniels MJ, Harper AR, Ware JS, Watkins H, Dixon PH, Chambers J, Cheng F, Estiu MC, Hague WM, Marschall H-U, Vazquez-Lopez M, Williamson C, Arno G, Dewhurst EF, Erwood M, French CE, Michaelides M, Moore AT, Sanchis-Juan A, Carss K, Webster AR, Raymond FL, Chinnery PF, Griffiths P, Horvath R, Hudson G, Jurkute N, Pyle A, Wei W, Yu-Wai-Man P, Whitworth J, Adlard J, Ahmed M, Armstrong R, Brewer C, Casey R, Cole TRP, Evans DG, Greenhalgh L, Hanson HL, Hoffman J, Izatt L, Kumar A, Lalloo F, Ong KR, Park S-M, Searet al., 2019, Germline selection shapes human mitochondrial DNA diversity, Science, Vol: 364, ISSN: 0036-8075

INTRODUCTIONOnly 2.4% of the 16.5-kb mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome shows homoplasmic variation at >1% frequency in humans. Migration patterns have contributed to geographic differences in the frequency of common genetic variants, but population genetic evidence indicates that selection shapes the evolving mtDNA phylogeny. The mechanism and timing of this process are not clear.Unlike the nuclear genome, mtDNA is maternally transmitted and there are many copies in each cell. Initially, a new genetic variant affects only a proportion of the mtDNA (heteroplasmy). During female germ cell development, a reduction in the amount of mtDNA per cell causes a “genetic bottleneck,” which leads to rapid segregation of mtDNA molecules and different levels of heteroplasmy between siblings. Although heteroplasmy is primarily governed by random genetic drift, there is evidence of selection occurring during this process in animals. Yet it has been difficult to demonstrate this convincingly in humans.RATIONALETo determine whether there is selection for or against heteroplasmic mtDNA variants during transmission, we studied 12,975 whole-genome sequences, including 1526 mother–offspring pairs of which 45.1% had heteroplasmy affecting >1% of mtDNA molecules. Harnessing both the mtDNA and nuclear genome sequences, we then determined whether the nuclear genetic background influenced mtDNA heteroplasmy, validating our findings in another 40,325 individuals.RESULTSPreviously unknown mtDNA variants were less likely to be inherited than known variants, in which the level of heteroplasmy tended to increase on transmission. Variants in the ribosomal RNA genes were less likely to be transmitted, whereas variants in the noncoding displacement (D)–loop were more likely to be transmitted. MtDNA variants predicted to affect the protein sequence tended to have lower heteroplasmy levels than synonymous variants. In 12,975 individuals, we identified a correlation between

Journal article

Sofianopoulou E, Kaptoge S, Gräf S, Hadinnapola C, Treacy CM, Church C, Coghlan G, Gibbs JSR, Haimel M, Howard L, Johnson M, Kiely DG, Lawrie A, Lordan J, MacKenzie Ross RV, Martin JM, Moledina S, Newnham M, Peacock AJ, Price L, Rhodes CJ, Suntharalingam J, Swietlik EM, Toshner MR, Wharton J, Wilkins MR, Wort SJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Condliffe R, Corris PA, Di Angelantonio E, Provencher S, Morrell NWet al., 2019, Traffic exposures, air pollution and outcomes in pulmonary arterial hypertension: A United Kingdom cohort study analysis., Eur Respir J

While traffic and air pollution exposure is associated with increased mortality in numerous diseases, its association with disease severity and outcomes in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) remains unknown.Exposure to particulate matter ≤2.5 μm3 (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and indirect measures of traffic-related air pollution (distance to main road and length of roads within buffer zones surrounding residential addresses) were estimated for 301 patients with idiopathic/heritable PAH recruited in the UK PAH national Cohort study. Associations with transplant-free survival and pulmonary hemodynamic severity at baseline were assessed, adjusting for confounding variables defined a priori.Higher estimated exposure to PM2.5 was associated with higher risk of death or lung transplant (Unadjusted hazard ratio (HR) 2.68; 95% CI 1.11-6.47 per 3 μg·m-3, p=0.028). This association remained similar when adjusted for potential confounding variables (HR 4.38; 95% CI 1.44-13.36 per 3 μg·m-3, p=0.009). No associations were found between NO2 exposure or other traffic pollution indicators and transplant-free survival Conversely, indirect measures of exposure to traffic-related air pollution within the 500-1000 m buffer zones correlated with the ERS/ESC risk categories as well as pulmonary hemodynamics at baseline. This association was strongest for pulmonary vascular resistance.In idiopathic/heritable PAH, indirect measures of exposure to traffic-related air pollution were associated with disease severity at baseline, whereas higher PM2.5 exposure may independently predict shorter transplant-free survival.

Journal article

Harbaum L, Ghataorhe P, Wharton J, Jimenez B, Howard L, Gibbs S, Nicholson J, Rhodes C, Wilkins Met al., 2019, Reduced plasma levels of small HDL particles transporting fibrinolytic proteins in pulmonary arterial hypertension, Thorax, Vol: 74, Pages: 380-389, ISSN: 1468-3296

Background Aberrant lipoprotein metabolism has been implicated in experimental pulmonary hypertension, but the relevance to patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is inconclusive.Objective To investigate the relationship between circulating lipoprotein subclasses and survival in patients with PAH.Methods Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, 105 discrete lipoproteins were measured in plasma samples from two cohorts of patients with idiopathic or heritable PAH. Data from 1124 plasma proteins were used to identify proteins linked to lipoprotein subclasses. The physical presence of proteins was confirmed in plasma lipoprotein subfractions separated by ultracentrifugation.Results Plasma levels of three lipoproteins from the small high-density lipoprotein (HDL) subclass, termed HDL-4, were inversely related to survival in both the discovery (n=127) and validation (n=77) cohorts, independent of exercise capacity, comorbidities, treatment, N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide, C reactive protein and the principal lipoprotein classes. The small HDL subclass rich in apolipoprotein A-2 content (HDL-4-Apo A-2) exhibited the most significant association with survival. None of the other lipoprotein classes, including principal lipoprotein classes HDL and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, were prognostic. Three out of nine proteins identified to associate with HDL-4-Apo A-2 are involved in the regulation of fibrinolysis, namely, the plasmin regulator, alpha-2-antiplasmin, and two major components of the kallikrein–kinin pathway (coagulation factor XI and prekallikrein), and their physical presence in the HDL-4 subfraction was confirmed.Conclusion Reduced plasma levels of small HDL particles transporting fibrinolytic proteins are associated with poor outcomes in patients with idiopathic and heritable PAH.

Journal article

Rhodes CJ, Batai K, Bleda M, Haimel M, Southgate L, Germain M, Pauciulo MW, Hadinnapola C, Aman J, Girerd B, Arora A, Knight J, Hanscombe KB, Karnes JH, Kaakinen M, Gall H, Ulrich A, Harbaum L, Cebola I, Ferrer J, Lutz K, Swietlik EM, Ahmad F, Amouyel P, Archer SL, Argula R, Austin ED, Badesch D, Bakshi S, Barnett C, Benza R, Bhatt N, Bogaard HJ, Burger CD, Chakinala M, Church C, Coghlan JG, Condliffe R, Corris PA, Danesino C, Debette S, Elliott CG, Elwing J, Eyries M, Fortin T, Franke A, Frantz RP, Frost A, Garcia JGN, Ghio S, Ghofrani H-A, Gibbs JSR, Harley J, He H, Hill NS, Hirsch R, Houweling AC, Howard LS, Ivy D, Kiely DG, Klinger J, Kovacs G, Lahm T, Laudes M, Machado RD, Ross RVM, Marsolo K, Martin LJ, Moledina S, Montani D, Nathan SD, Newnham M, Olschewski A, Olschewski H, Oudiz RJ, Ouwehand WH, Peacock AJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Rehman Z, Robbins I, Roden DM, Rosenzweig EB, Saydain G, Scelsi L, Schilz R, Seeger W, Shaffer CM, Simms RW, Simon M, Sitbon O, Suntharalingam J, Tang H, Tchourbanov AY, Thenappan T, Torres F, Toshner MR, Treacy CM, Noordegraaf AV, Waisfisz Q, Walsworth AK, Walter RE, Wharton J, White RJ, Wilt J, Wort SJ, Yung D, Lawrie A, Humbert M, Soubrier F, Trégouët D-A, Prokopenko I, Kittles R, Gräf S, Nichols WC, Trembath RC, Desai AA, Morrell NW, Wilkins MR, UK NIHR BioResource Rare Diseases Consortium, UK PAH Cohort Study Consortium, US PAH Biobank Consortiumet al., 2019, Genetic determinants of risk in pulmonary arterial hypertension: international case-control studies and meta-analysis, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 7, Pages: 227-238, ISSN: 2213-2600

BackgroundRare genetic variants cause pulmonary arterial hypertension, but the contribution of common genetic variation to disease risk and natural history is poorly characterised. We tested for genome-wide association for pulmonary arterial hypertension in large international cohorts and assessed the contribution of associated regions to outcomes.MethodsWe did two separate genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and a meta-analysis of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These GWAS used data from four international case-control studies across 11 744 individuals with European ancestry (including 2085 patients). One GWAS used genotypes from 5895 whole-genome sequences and the other GWAS used genotyping array data from an additional 5849 individuals. Cross-validation of loci reaching genome-wide significance was sought by meta-analysis. Conditional analysis corrected for the most significant variants at each locus was used to resolve signals for multiple associations. We functionally annotated associated variants and tested associations with duration of survival. All-cause mortality was the primary endpoint in survival analyses.FindingsA locus near SOX17 (rs10103692, odds ratio 1·80 [95% CI 1·55–2·08], p=5·13 × 10–15) and a second locus in HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1 (collectively referred to as HLA-DPA1/DPB1 here; rs2856830, 1·56 [1·42–1·71], p=7·65 × 10–20) within the class II MHC region were associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The SOX17 locus had two independent signals associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (rs13266183, 1·36 [1·25–1·48], p=1·69 × 10–12; and rs10103692). Functional and epigenomic data indicate that the risk variants near SOX17 alter gene regulation via an enhancer active in endothelial cells. Pulmonary arterial hypertension risk variants determined haplotype-specific enhancer activity, and CRISPR-media

Journal article

Bello G, Dawes T, Duan J, Biffi C, Simoes Monteiro de Marvao A, Howard L, Gibbs S, Wilkins M, Cook S, Rueckert D, O'Regan Det al., 2019, Deep learning cardiac motion analysis for human survival prediction, Nature Machine Intelligence, Vol: 1, Pages: 95-104, ISSN: 2522-5839

Motion analysis is used in computer vision to understand the behaviour of moving objects in sequences of images. Optimizing the interpretation of dynamic biological systems requires accurate and precise motion tracking as well as efficient representations of high-dimensional motion trajectories so that these can be used for prediction tasks. Here we use image sequences of the heart, acquired using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, to create time-resolved three-dimensional segmentations using a fully convolutional network trained on anatomical shape priors. This dense motion model formed the input to a supervised denoising autoencoder (4Dsurvival), which is a hybrid network consisting of an autoencoder that learns a task-specific latent code representation trained on observed outcome data, yielding a latent representation optimized for survival prediction. To handle right-censored survival outcomes, our network used a Cox partial likelihood loss function. In a study of 302 patients, the predictive accuracy (quantified by Harrell’s C-index) was significantly higher (P = 0.0012) for our model C = 0.75 (95% CI: 0.70–0.79) than the human benchmark of C = 0.59 (95% CI: 0.53–0.65). This work demonstrates how a complex computer vision task using high-dimensional medical image data can efficiently predict human survival.

Journal article

Sitbon O, Gomberg-Maitland M, Granton J, Lewis MI, Mathai SC, Rainisio M, Stockbridge NL, Wilkins MR, Zamanian RT, Rubin LJet al., 2019, Clinical trial design and new therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension, European Respiratory Journal, Vol: 53, ISSN: 0903-1936

Until 20 years ago the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) was based on case reports and small series, and was largely ineffectual. As a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of PAH evolved over the subsequent two decades, coupled with epidemiological studies defining the clinical and demographic characteristics of the condition, a renewed interest in treatment development emerged through collaborations between international experts, industry and regulatory agencies. These efforts led to the performance of robust, high-quality clinical trials of novel therapies that targeted putative pathogenic pathways, leading to the approval of more than 10 novel therapies that have beneficially impacted both the quality and duration of life. However, our understanding of PAH remains incomplete and there is no cure. Accordingly, efforts are now focused on identifying novel pathogenic pathways that may be targeted, and applying more rigorous clinical trial designs to better define the efficacy of these new potential treatments and their role in the management scheme. This article, prepared by a Task Force comprised of expert clinicians, trialists and regulators, summarises the current state of the art, and provides insight into the opportunities and challenges for identifying and assessing the efficacy and safety of new treatments for this challenging condition.

Journal article

Newnham M, South K, Bleda M, Auger WR, Barberà JA, Bogaard H, Bunclark K, Cannon JE, Delcroix M, Hadinnapola C, Howard LS, Jenkins D, Mayer E, Ng C, Rhodes CJ, Screaton N, Sheares K, Simpson MA, Southwood M, Su L, Taboada D, Traylor M, Trembath RC, Villar SS, Wilkins MR, Wharton J, Gräf S, Pepke-Zaba J, Laffan M, Lane DA, Morrell NW, Toshner Met al., 2019, The ADAMTS13-VWF axis is dysregulated in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, European Respiratory Journal, ISSN: 0903-1936

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is an important consequence of pulmonary embolism (PE) that is associated with abnormalities in haemostasis. We investigated the ADAMTS13-VWF axis in CTEPH, including its relationship to disease severity, inflammation, ABO groups and ADAMTS13 genetic variants.ADAMTS13 and VWF plasma antigen levels were measured in patients with CTEPH (n=208), chronic thromboembolic disease without pulmonary hypertension (CTED; n=35), resolved PE (n=28), idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (n=30) and healthy controls (n=68). CTEPH genetic ABO associations and protein quantitative trait loci were investigated. ADAMTS-VWF axis abnormalities were assessed in CTEPH and healthy control subsets by measuring ADAMTS13 activity, D-dimers and VWF-multimeric size.CTEPH patients had decreased ADAMTS13 (adjusted β (95% CI)=−23.4 (−30.9– −15.1)%, p<0.001) and increased VWF levels (β=+75.5 (44.8–113)%, p<0.001) compared to healthy controls. ADAMTS13 levels remained low after reversal of pulmonary hypertension by pulmonary endarterectomy surgery and were equally reduced in CTED. We identify a genetic variant near the ADAMTS13 gene associated with ADAMTS13 protein that accounted for ∼8% of the variation in levels.The ADAMTS13-VWF axis is dysregulated in CTEPH. This is unrelated to pulmonary hypertension, disease severity or markers of systemic inflammation and implicates the ADAMTS13-VWF axis in CTEPH pathobiology.

Journal article

Hemnes AR, Luther JM, Rhodes CJ, Burgess JP, Carlson J, Fan R, Fessel JP, Fortune N, Gerszten RE, Halliday SJ, Hekmat R, Howard L, Newman JH, Niswender KD, Pugh ME, Robbins IM, Sheng Q, Shibao CA, Shyr Y, Sumner S, Talati M, Wharton J, Wilkins MR, Ye F, Yu C, West J, Brittain ELet al., 2019, Human PAH is characterized by a pattern of lipid-related insulin resistance, JCI INSIGHT, Vol: 4, ISSN: 2379-3708

Journal article

Abdul-Salam V, Russomanno G, Chien-Nien C, Mahomed A, Yates L, Wilkins M, Zhao L, Gierula M, Dubois O, Schaeper U, Endruschat J, Wojciak-Stothard Bet al., 2019, CLIC4/Arf6 pathway – a new lead in BMPRII inhibition in pulmonary hypertension, Circulation Research, Vol: 124, Pages: 52-65, ISSN: 0009-7330

Rationale:Increased expression of CLIC4 (chloride intracellular channel 4) is a feature of endothelial dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension, but its role in disease pathology is not fully understood.Objective:To identify CLIC4 effectors and evaluate strategies targeting CLIC4 signaling in pulmonary hypertension.Methods and Results:Proteomic analysis of CLIC4-interacting proteins in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells identified regulators of endosomal trafficking, including Arf6 (ADP ribosylation factor 6) GTPase activating proteins and clathrin, while CLIC4 overexpression affected protein regulators of vesicular trafficking, lysosomal function, and inflammation. CLIC4 reduced BMPRII (bone morphogenetic protein receptor II) expression and signaling as a result of Arf6-mediated reduction in gyrating clathrin and increased lysosomal targeting of the receptor. BMPRII expression was restored by Arf6 siRNA, Arf inhibitor Sec7 inhibitor H3 (SecinH3), and inhibitors of clathrin-mediated endocytosis but was unaffected by chloride channel inhibitor, indanyloxyacetic acid 94 or Arf1 siRNA. The effects of CLIC4 on NF-κB (nuclear factor-kappa B), HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor), and angiogenic response were prevented by Arf6 siRNA and SecinH3. Sugen/hypoxia mice and monocrotaline rats showed elevated expression of CLIC4, activation of Arf6 and NF-κB, and reduced expression of BMPRII in the lung. These changes were established early during disease development. Lung endothelium–targeted delivery of CLIC4 siRNA or treatment with SecinH3 attenuated the disease, reduced CLIC4/Arf activation, and restored BMPRII expression in the lung. Endothelial colony–forming cells from idiopathic pulmonary hypertensive patients showed upregulation of CLIC4 expression and Arf6 activity, suggesting potential importance of this pathway in the human condition.Conclusions:Arf6 is a novel effector of CLIC4 and a new therapeutic target in pulmonary hypertension.

Journal article

Maron BA, Wilkins MR, 2018, TORward a molecular convergence point in pulmonary arterial hypertension with mTOR., JACC: Basic to Translational Science, Vol: 3, Pages: 763-765, ISSN: 2452-302X

Journal article

Bohnen MS, Ma L, Zhu N, Qi H, McClenaghan C, Gonzaga-Jauregui C, Dewey FE, Overton JD, Reid JG, Shuldiner AR, Baras A, Sampson KJ, Bleda M, Hadinnapola C, Haimel M, Bogaard HJ, Church C, Coghlan G, Corris PA, Eyries M, Gibbs JSR, Girerd B, Houweling AC, Humbert M, Guignabert C, Kiely DG, Lawrie A, Ross RVM, Martin JM, Montani D, Peacock AJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Soubrier F, Suntharalingam J, Toshner M, Treacy CM, Trembath RC, Noordegraaf AV, Wharton J, Wilkins MR, Wort SJ, Yates K, Graf S, Morrell NW, Krishnan U, Rosenzweig EB, Shen Y, Nichols CG, Kass RS, Chung WKet al., 2018, Loss-of-Function ABCC8 Mutations in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, CIRCULATION-GENOMIC AND PRECISION MEDICINE, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2574-8300

Journal article

Ashek A, Spruijt OA, Harms HJ, Lammertsma AA, Cupitt J, Dubois O, Wharton J, Dabral S, Pullamsetti SS, Huisman MC, Frings V, Boellaard R, de Man FS, Botros L, Jansen S, Noordegraaf AV, Wilkins MR, Bogaard HJ, Zhao Let al., 2018, 3 '-deoxy-3'-[18F]fluorothymidine positron emission tomography depicts heterogeneous proliferation pathology in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension patient lung: a potential biomarker for pulmonary arterial hypertension, Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1941-9651

Background:Pulmonary vascular cell hyperproliferation is characteristic of pulmonary vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. A noninvasive imaging biomarker is needed to track the pathology and assess the response to novel treatments targeted at resolving the structural changes. Here, we evaluated the application of radioligand 3′-deoxy-3′-[18F]-fluorothymidine (18FLT) using positron emission tomography.Methods and Results:We performed dynamic 18FLT positron emission tomography in 8 patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and applied in-depth kinetic analysis with a reversible 2-compartment 4k model. Our results show significantly increased lung 18FLT phosphorylation (k3) in patients with IPAH compared with nonpulmonary arterial hypertension controls (0.086±0.034 versus 0.054±0.009 min−1; P<0.05). There was heterogeneity in the lung 18FLT signal both between patients with IPAH and within the lungs of each patient, compatible with histopathologic reports of lungs from patients with IPAH. Consistent with 18FLT positron emission tomographic data, TK1 (thymidine kinase 1) expression was evident in the remodeled vessels in IPAH patient lung. In addition, hyperproliferative pulmonary vascular fibroblasts isolated from patients with IPAH exhibited upregulated expression of TK1 and the thymidine transporter, ENT1 (equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1). In the monocrotaline and SuHx (Sugen hypoxia) rat pulmonary arterial hypertension models, increased lung 18FLT uptake was strongly associated with peripheral pulmonary vascular muscularization and the proliferation marker, Ki-67 score, together with prominent TK1 expression in remodeled vessels. Importantly, lung 18FLT uptake was attenuated by 2 antiproliferative treatments: dichloroacetate and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib.Conclusions:Dynamic 18FLT positron emission tomography imaging can be used to report hyperproliferation in pulmonary h

Journal article

Dawes T, Cai J, Quinlan M, Simoes Monteiro de Marvao A, Ostowski P, Tokarczuk P, Watson G, Wharton J, Howard L, Gibbs J, Cook S, Wilkins M, O'Regan DPet al., 2018, Fractal analysis of right ventricular trabeculae in pulmonary hypertension, Radiology, Vol: 288, Pages: 386-395, ISSN: 0033-8419

Purpose: To measure right ventricular (RV) trabecular complexity by its fractal dimension (FD) in healthy subjects and patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and assess its relationship to hemodynamic and functional parameters, and future cardiovascular events. Materials and methods: This retrospective study used data acquired from May 2004 to October 2013 for 256 patients with newly-diagnosed PH that underwent cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, right heart catheterization and six-minute walk distance testing with a median follow-up of 4.0 years. 256 healthy controls underwent CMR only. Biventricular FD, volumes and function were assessed on short-axis cine images. Reproducibility was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient, correlation between variables was assessed by Pearson’s correlation test, and mortality prediction compared by univariable and multivariable Cox regression analysis. Results: RV-FD reproducibility had an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.97 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96, 0.98).RV-FD was higher in PH patients than healthy subjects (median 1.310, inter-quartile range [IQR] 1.281-1.341 vs 1.264, 1.242-1.295, P<.001) with the greatest difference near the apex. RV-FD was associated with pulmonary vascular resistance (r=0.30, P<.001). In univariable Cox regression analysis, RV-FD was a significant predictor of death (hazards ratio [HR]: 1.256, CI: 1.011, 1.560, P=.04), but in a multivariable analysis did not predict survival independently of conventional parameters of RV remodeling (HR: 1.179, CI: 0.871, 1.596, P=0.29). Conclusion: Fractal analysis of RV trabecular complexity is a highly reproducible measure of remodeling in PH associated with afterload, although the gain in survival prediction over traditional markers is not significant.

Journal article

Wilkins M, Aman J, Harbaum L, Ulrich A, Wharton J, Rhodes Cet al., 2018, Recent advances in pulmonary arterial hypertension [version 1; referees: 2 approved], F1000Research, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2046-1402

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder with a high mortality rate. Treatment options have improved in the last 20 years, but patients still die prematurely of right heart failure. Though rare, it is heterogeneous at the genetic and molecular level, and understanding and exploiting this is key to the development of more effective treatments. BMPR2 , encoding bone morphogenetic receptor type 2, is the most commonly affected gene in both familial and non-familial PAH, but rare mutations have been identified in other genes. Transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic studies looking for endophenotypes are under way. There is no shortage of candidate new drug targets for PAH, but the selection and prioritisation of these are challenges for the research community.

Journal article

White RJ, Wilkins MR, 2018, New Therapeutic Approaches in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension The Pantheon Is Getting Crowded, CIRCULATION, Vol: 137, Pages: 2390-2392, ISSN: 0009-7322

Journal article

Gräf S, Haimel M, Bleda M, Hadinnapola C, Southgate L, Li W, Hodgson J, Liu B, Salmon RM, Southwood M, Machado RD, Martin JM, Treacy CM, Yates K, Daugherty LC, Shamardina O, Whitehorn D, Holden S, Aldred M, Bogaard HJ, Church C, Coghlan G, Condliffe R, Corris PA, Danesino C, Eyries M, Gall H, Ghio S, Ghofrani H-A, Gibbs JSR, Girerd B, Houweling AC, Howard L, Humbert M, Kiely DG, Kovacs G, MacKenzie Ross RV, Moledina S, Montani D, Newnham M, Olschewski A, Olschewski H, Peacock AJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Prokopenko I, Rhodes CJ, Scelsi L, Seeger W, Soubrier F, Stein DF, Suntharalingam J, Swietlik EM, Toshner MR, van Heel DA, Vonk Noordegraaf A, Waisfisz Q, Wharton J, Wort SJ, Ouwehand WH, Soranzo N, Lawrie A, Upton PD, Wilkins MR, Trembath RC, Morrell NWet al., 2018, Identification of rare sequence variation underlying heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder with a poor prognosis. Deleterious variation within components of the transforming growth factor-β pathway, particularly the bone morphogenetic protein type 2 receptor (BMPR2), underlies most heritable forms of PAH. To identify the missing heritability we perform whole-genome sequencing in 1038 PAH index cases and 6385 PAH-negative control subjects. Case-control analyses reveal significant overrepresentation of rare variants in ATP13A3, AQP1 and SOX17, and provide independent validation of a critical role for GDF2 in PAH. We demonstrate familial segregation of mutations in SOX17 and AQP1 with PAH. Mutations in GDF2, encoding a BMPR2 ligand, lead to reduced secretion from transfected cells. In addition, we identify pathogenic mutations in the majority of previously reported PAH genes, and provide evidence for further putative genes. Taken together these findings contribute new insights into the molecular basis of PAH and indicate unexplored pathways for therapeutic intervention.

Journal article

Huertas A, Guignabert C, Barberà JA, Bärtsch P, Bhattacharya J, Bhattacharya S, Bonsignore MR, Dewachter L, Dinh-Xuan AT, Dorfmüller P, Gladwin MT, Humbert M, Kotsimbos T, Vassilakopoulos T, Sanchez O, Savale L, Testa U, Wilkins MRet al., 2018, Pulmonary vascular endothelium: the orchestra conductor in respiratory diseases: Highlights from basic research to therapy, European Respiratory Journal, Vol: 51, ISSN: 0903-1936

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) Research Seminar entitled "Pulmonary vascular endothelium: orchestra conductor in respiratory diseases - highlights from basic research to therapy" brought together international experts in dysfunctional pulmonary endothelium, from basic science to translational medicine, to discuss several important aspects in acute and chronic lung diseases. This review will briefly sum up the different topics of discussion from this meeting which was held in Paris, France on October 27-28, 2016. It is important to consider that this paper does not address all aspects of endothelial dysfunction but focuses on specific themes such as: 1) the complex role of the pulmonary endothelium in orchestrating the host response in both health and disease (acute lung injury, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high-altitude pulmonary oedema and pulmonary hypertension); and 2) the potential value of dysfunctional pulmonary endothelium as a target for innovative therapies.

Journal article

Brash L, Barnes GD, Brewis MJ, Church AC, Gibbs SJ, Howard LSGE, Jayasekera G, Johnson MK, McGlinchey N, Onorato J, Simpson J, Stirrat C, Thomson S, Watson G, Wilkins MR, Xu C, Welsh DJ, Newby DE, Peacock AJet al., 2018, Short-term hemodynamic effects of apelin in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, JACC: Basic to Translational Science, Vol: 3, Pages: 176-186, ISSN: 2452-302X

Apelin agonism causes systemic vasodilatation and increased cardiac contractility in humans, and improves pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in animal models. Here, the authors examined the short-term pulmonary hemodynamic effects of systemic apelin infusion in patients with PAH. In a double-blind randomized crossover study, 19 patients with PAH received intravenous (Pyr 1 )apelin-13 and matched saline placebo during invasive right heart catheterization. (Pyr 1 )apelin-13 infusion caused a reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance and increased cardiac output. This effect was accentuated in the subgroup of patients receiving concomitant phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibition. Apelin agonism is a novel potential therapeutic target for PAH. (Effects of Apelin on the Lung Circulation in Pulmonary Hypertension; NCT01457170)

Journal article

Michelakis ED, Gurtu V, Webster L, Barnes G, Watson G, Howard L, Cupitt J, Paterson I, Thompson RB, Chow K, O'Regan DP, Zhao L, Wharton J, Kiely DG, Kinnaird A, Boukouris AE, White C, Nagendran J, Freed DH, Wort SJ, Gibbs JSR, Wilkins MRet al., 2017, Inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase improves pulmonary arterial hypertension in genetically susceptible patients, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1946-6234

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive vascular disease with a high mortality rate. It is characterized by an occlusive vascular remodeling due to a pro-proliferative and antiapoptotic environment in the wall of resistance pulmonary arteries (PAs). Proliferating cells exhibit a cancer-like metabolic switch where mitochondrial glucose oxidation is suppressed, whereas glycolysis is up-regulated as the major source of adenosine triphosphate production. This multifactorial mitochondrial suppression leads to inhibition of apoptosis and downstream signaling promoting proliferation. We report an increase in pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), an inhibitor of the mitochondrial enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH, the gatekeeping enzyme of glucose oxidation) in the PAs of human PAH compared to healthy lungs. Treatment of explanted human PAH lungs with the PDK inhibitor dichloroacetate (DCA) ex vivo activated PDH and increased mitochondrial respiration. In a 4-month, open-label study, DCA (3 to 6.25 mg/kg b.i.d.) administered to patients with idiopathic PAH (iPAH) already on approved iPAH therapies led to reduction in mean PA pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance and improvement in functional capacity, but with a range of individual responses. Lack of ex vivo and clinical response was associated with the presence of functional variants of SIRT3 and UCP2 that predict reduced protein function. Impaired function of these proteins causes PDK-independent mitochondrial suppression and pulmonary hypertension in mice. This first-in-human trial of a mitochondria-targeting drug in iPAH demonstrates that PDK is a druggable target and offers hemodynamic improvement in genetically susceptible patients, paving the way for novel precision medicine approaches in this disease.

Journal article

Hadinnapola C, Bleda M, Haimel M, Screaton N, Swift AJ, Dorfmüller P, Preston SD, Southwood M, Hernandez-Sanchez J, Martin J, Treacy C, Yates K, Bogaard H, Church C, Coghlan G, Condliffe R, Corris PA, Gibbs SR, Girerd B, Holden S, Humbert M, Kiely DG, Lawrie A, Machado RD, MacKenzie Ross R, Moledina S, Montani D, Newnham M, Peacock AJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Rayner-Matthews PJ, Shamardina O, Soubrier F, Southgate L, Suntharalingam J, Toshner MR, Trembath RC, Vonk Noordegraaf A, Wilkins MR, Wort SJ, Wharton J, Gräf S, Morrell NW, NIHR BioResource - Rare Diseases Consortium & UK National Cohort Study of Idiopathic and Heritable PAHet al., 2017, Phenotypic Characterisation of EIF2AK4 Mutation Carriers in a Large Cohort of Patients Diagnosed Clinically with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension., Circulation, Vol: 136, Pages: 2022-2033, ISSN: 0009-7322

Background -Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease with an emerging genetic basis. Heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) are the commonest genetic cause of PAH, whereas biallelic mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha kinase 4 gene (EIF2AK4) are described in pulmonary veno-occlusive disease and pulmonary capillary haemangiomatosis (PVOD/PCH). Here, we determined the frequency of these mutations and define the genotype-phenotype characteristics in a large cohort of patients diagnosed clinically with PAH. Methods -Whole genome sequencing was performed on DNA from patients with idiopathic and heritable PAH, as well as PVOD/PCH recruited to the NIHR BioResource - Rare Diseases Study. Heterozygous variants in BMPR2 and biallelic EIF2AK4 variants with a minor allele frequency of < 1:10,000 in control data sets and predicted to be deleterious (by CADD, PolyPhen-2 and SIFT predictions) were identified as potentially causal. Phenotype data from the time of diagnosis were also captured. Results -Eight hundred and sixty-four patients with idiopathic or heritable PAH and 16 with PVOD/PCH were recruited. Mutations in BMPR2 were identified in 130 patients (14.8%). Biallelic mutations in EIF2AK4 were identified in 5 patients with a clinical diagnosis of PVOD/PCH. Furthermore, 9 patients with a clinical diagnosis of PAH carried biallelic EIF2AK4 mutations. These patients had a reduced transfer coefficient for carbon monoxide (KCO: 33 [IQR: 30 - 35] % predicted) and younger age at diagnosis (29 [23 - 38] years) as well as more interlobular septal thickening and mediastinal lymphadenopathy on computed tomography of the chest, compared to PAH patients without EIF2AK4 mutations. However, radiological assessment alone could not accurately identify biallelic EIF2AK4 mutation carriers. PAH patients with biallelic EIF2AK4 mutations had a shorter survival. Conclusions -Biallelic EIF2A

Journal article

Wilkins MR, 2017, Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 inhibition in pulmonary hypertension: too much to ASK?, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol: 197, Pages: 286-288, ISSN: 1073-449X

Journal article

Rhodes CJ, Wharton J, Ghataorhe P, Watson G, Girerd B, Howard LS, Gibbs JSR, Condliffe R, Elliot CA, Kiely DG, Simonneau G, Montani D, Sitbon O, Gall H, Schermuly RT, Ghofrani HA, Lawrie A, Humbert M, Wilkins MRet al., 2017, Plasma proteome analysis in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension: an observational cohort study., Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 5, Pages: 717-726, ISSN: 2213-2600

BACKGROUND: Idiopathic and heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension form a rare but molecularly heterogeneous disease group. We aimed to measure and validate differences in plasma concentrations of proteins that are associated with survival in patients with idiopathic or heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension to improve risk stratification. METHODS: In this observational cohort study, we enrolled patients with idiopathic or heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension from London (UK; cohorts 1 and 2), Giessen (Germany; cohort 3), and Paris (France; cohort 4). Blood samples were collected at routine clinical appointment visits, clinical data were collected within 30 days of blood sampling, and biochemical data were collected within 7 days of blood sampling. We used an aptamer-based assay of 1129 plasma proteins, and patient clinical details were concealed to the technicians. We identified a panel of prognostic proteins, confirmed with alternative targeted assays, which we evaluated against the established prognostic risk equation for pulmonary arterial hypertension derived from the REVEAL registry. All-cause mortality was the primary endpoint. FINDINGS: 20 proteins differentiated survivors and non-survivors in 143 consecutive patients with idiopathic or heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension with 2 years' follow-up (cohort 1) and in a further 75 patients with 2·5 years' follow-up (cohort 2). Nine proteins were both prognostic independent of plasma NT-proBNP concentrations and confirmed by targeted assays. The functions of these proteins relate to myocardial stress, inflammation, pulmonary vascular cellular dysfunction and structural dysregulation, iron status, and coagulation. A cutoff-based score using the panel of nine proteins provided prognostic information independent of the REVEAL equation, improving the C statistic from area under the curve 0·83 (for REVEAL risk score, 95% CI 0·77-0·89; p<0·0001) to 0·91 (for p

Journal article

Ghataorhe P, Rhodes CJ, Harbaum L, Attard M, Wharton J, Wilkins MRet al., 2017, Pulmonary arterial hypertension - progress in understanding the disease and prioritizing strategies for drug development, Journal of Internal Medicine, Vol: 282, Pages: 129-141, ISSN: 0954-6820

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), at one time a largely overlooked disease, is now the subject of intense study in many academic and biotech groups. The availability of new treatments has increased awareness of the condition. This in turn has driven a change in the demographics of PAH, with an increase in the mean age at diagnosis. The diagnosis of PAH in more elderly patients has highlighted the need for careful phenotyping of patients and for further studies to understand how best to manage pulmonary hypertension associated with, for example, left heart disease. The breadth and depth of expertise focused on unravelling the molecular pathology of PAH has yielded novel insights, including the role of growth factors, inflammation and metabolic remodelling. The description of the genetic architecture of PAH is accelerating in parallel, with novel variants, such as those reported in potassium two-pore domain channel subfamily K member 3 (KCNK3), adding to the list of more established mutations in genes associated with bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) signalling. These insights have supported a paradigm shift in treatment strategies away from simply addressing the imbalance of vasoactive mediators observed in PAH towards tackling more directly the structural remodelling of the pulmonary vasculature. Here, we summarize the changing clinical and molecular landscape of PAH. We highlight novel drug therapies that are in various stages of clinical development, targeting for example cell proliferation, metabolic, inflammatory/immune and BMPR2 dysfunction, and the challenges around developing these treatments. We argue that advances in the treatment of PAH will come through deep molecular phenotyping with the integration of clinical, genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic information in large populations of patients through international collaboration. This approach provides the best opportunity for identifying key signalling pathways, both a

Journal article

Dawes T, Simoes monteiro de marvao A, Shi W, Fletcher T, Watson G, Wharton J, Rhodes C, Howard L, Gibbs J, Rueckert D, Cook S, Wilkins M, O'Regan DPet al., 2017, Machine learning of three-dimensional right ventricular motion enables outcome prediction in pulmonary hypertension: a cardiac MR imaging study, Radiology, Vol: 283, Pages: 381-390, ISSN: 1527-1315

Purpose: To determine if patient survival and mechanisms of right ventricular (RV) failure in pulmonary hypertension (PH) could be predicted using supervised machine learning of three dimensional patterns of systolic cardiac motion. Materials and methods: The study was approved by a research ethics committee and participants gave written informed consent. 256 patients (143 females, mean age 63 ± 17) with newly diagnosed PH underwent cardiac MR imaging, right heart catheterization (RHC) and six minute walk testing (6MWT) with a median follow up of 4.0 years. Semi automated segmentation of short axis cine images was used to create a three dimensional model of right ventricular motion. Supervised principal components analysis identified patterns of systolic motion which were most strongly predictive of survival. Survival prediction was assessed by the difference in median survival time and the area under the curve (AUC) using time dependent receiver operator characteristic for one year survival. Results: At the end of follow up 33% (93/256) died and one underwent lung transplantation. Poor outcome was predicted by a loss of effective contraction in the septum and freewall coupled with reduced basal longitudinal motion. When added to conventional imaging, hemodynamic, functional and clinical markers, three dimensional cardiac motion improved survival prediction (area under the curve 0.73 vs 0.60, p<0.001) and provided greater differentiation by difference in median survival time between high and low risk groups (13.8 vs 10.7 years, p<0.001). Conclusion:Three dimensional motion modeling with machine learning approaches reveal the adaptations in function that occur early in right heart failure and independently predict outcomes in newly diagnosed PH patients.

Journal article

Duluc L, Ahmetaj-Shala B, Mitchell J, Abdul Salam VB, Mahomed AS, Aldabbous L, Oliver E, Iannone L, Dubois OD, Storck EM, Tate EW, Zhao L, Wilkins MR, Wojciak-Stothard Bet al., 2017, Tipifarnib prevents development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, Cardiovascular Research, Vol: 113, Pages: 276-287, ISSN: 1755-3245

Aims.RhoB plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Farnesylated RhoB promotes growth responses in cancer cells and we investigated whether inhibition of protein farnesylation will have a protective effect. Methods and Results.The analysis of lung tissues from rodent models and pulmonary hypertensive patientsshowed increased levels of protein farnesylation. Oral farnesyltransferase inhibitor tipifarnib prevented development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. Tipifarnib reduced hypoxia-induced vascular cell proliferation, increased endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and reduced vasoconstriction of intrapulmonary arteries without affecting cell viability. Protective effects of tipifarnib were associated with inhibition of Ras and RhoB, actin depolymerisation and increased eNOS expression in vitroand in vivo. Farnesylated-only RhoB (F-RhoB) increased proliferative responses in cultured pulmonary vascular cells, mimicking the effects of hypoxia, while both geranylgeranylated-only RhoB (GG-RhoB) and tipifarnib had an inhibitory effect. Label-free proteomics linked F-RhoB with cell survival, activation of cell cycle and mitochondrial biogenesis. Hypoxia increased and tipifarnib reduced the levels of F-RhoB-regulated proteins in the lung, reinforcing the importance of RhoB as a signalling mediator.Unlike simvastatin, tipifarnib did not increase the expression levels of Rho proteins.Conclusions.Our study demonstrates the importance of protein farnesylation in pulmonary vascular remodeling and provides a rationale for selective targeting of this pathway in pulmonary hypertension.

Journal article

Rhodes CJ, Ghataorhe P, Wharton J, Rue-Albrecht KC, Hadinnapola C, Watson G, Bleda M, Haimel M, Coghlan G, Corris PA, Howard LS, Kiely DG, Peacock AJ, Pepke-Zaba J, Toshner MR, Wort SJ, Gibbs SR, Lawrie A, Graf S, Morrell NW, Wilkins MRet al., 2016, Plasma metabolomics implicate modified transfer RNAs and altered bioenergetics in the outcome of pulmonary arterial hypertension, Circulation, Vol: 135, Pages: 460-475, ISSN: 0009-7322

Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a heterogeneous disorder with high mortality.Methods: We conducted a comprehensive study of plasma metabolites using ultraperformance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to identify patients at high risk of early death, to identify patients who respond well to treatment, and to provide novel molecular insights into disease pathogenesis.Results: Fifty-three circulating metabolites distinguished well-phenotyped patients with idiopathic or heritable PAH (n=365) from healthy control subjects (n=121) after correction for multiple testing (P<7.3e-5) and confounding factors, including drug therapy, and renal and hepatic impairment. A subset of 20 of 53 metabolites also discriminated patients with PAH from disease control subjects (symptomatic patients without pulmonary hypertension, n=139). Sixty-two metabolites were prognostic in PAH, with 36 of 62 independent of established prognostic markers. Increased levels of tRNA-specific modified nucleosides (N2,N2-dimethylguanosine, N1-methylinosine), tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates (malate, fumarate), glutamate, fatty acid acylcarnitines, tryptophan, and polyamine metabolites and decreased levels of steroids, sphingomyelins, and phosphatidylcholines distinguished patients from control subjects. The largest differences correlated with increased risk of death, and correction of several metabolites over time was associated with a better outcome. Patients who responded to calcium channel blocker therapy had metabolic profiles similar to those of healthy control subjects.Conclusions: Metabolic profiles in PAH are strongly related to survival and should be considered part of the deep phenotypic characterization of this disease. Our results support the investigation of targeted therapeutic strategies that seek to address the alterations in translational regulation and energy metabolism that characterize these patients.

Journal article

Wilkins MR, Morrell NW, 2016, Prof. Almaz A. Aldashev (1953-2016), European Respiratory Journal, Vol: 48, Pages: 990-991, ISSN: 0903-1936

Journal article

Aldabbous L, Abdul-Salam V, McKinnon T, Duluc L, Pepke-Zaba J, Southwood M, Ainscough AJ, Hadinnapola C, Wilkins M, Toshner M, Wojciak-Stothard Bet al., 2016, Neutrophil Extracellular Traps Promote Angiogenesis: Evidence From Vascular Pathology in Pulmonary Hypertension., Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, Vol: 36, Pages: 2078-2087, ISSN: 1079-5642

OBJECTIVE: Inflammation and dysregulated angiogenesis are features of endothelial dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), produced by dying neutrophils, contribute to pathogenesis of numerous vascular disorders but their role in pulmonary hypertension has not been studied. We sought evidence of (NETs) formation in pulmonary hypertension and investigated the effect of NETs on endothelial function. APPROACH AND RESULTS: Plasma and lung tissues of patients with pulmonary hypertension were analyzed for NET markers. The effects of NETs on endothelial function were studied in vitro and in vivo. Patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension and idiopathic pulmonary hypertension showed elevated plasma levels of DNA, neutrophil elastase, and myeloperoxidase. NET-forming neutrophils and extensive areas of NETosis were found in the occlusive plexiform lesions and vascularized intrapulmonary thrombi. NETs induced nuclear factor κB-dependent endothelial angiogenesis in vitro and increased vascularization of matrigel plugs in vivo. Angiogenic responses were associated with increased release of matrix metalloproteinase-9, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor, latency-associated peptide of the transforming growth factor β1, and urokinase-type plasminogen activator, accompanied by increased endothelial permeability and cell motility. NETs-induced responses depended on myeloperoxidase/H2O2-dependent activation of Toll-like receptor 4/nuclear factor κB signaling. NETs stimulated the release of endothelin-1 in HPAECs and stimulated pulmonary smooth muscle cell proliferation in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: We are the first to implicate NETs in angiogenesis and provide a functional link between NETs and inflammatory angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate the potential pathological relevance of this in 2 diseases of disordered vascular homeostasis, pulmonary arterial hypertension and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary

Journal article

Ghofrani HA, Humbert M, Langleben D, Schermuly R, Stasch JP, Wilkins MR, Klinger JRet al., 2016, Riociguat: Mode of action and clinical development in pulmonary hypertension, Chest, Vol: 151, Pages: 468-480, ISSN: 0012-3692

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) are progressive and debilitating diseases characterized by gradual obstruction of the pulmonary vasculature, leading to elevated pulmonary artery pressure and increased pulmonary vascular resistance. If untreated, they can result in death due to right heart failure. Riociguat is a novel soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulator that is approved for the treatment of PAH and CTEPH. Here we describe in detail the role of the nitric oxide-sGC-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of PAH and CTEPH, and the mode of action of riociguat. We also review the preclinical data associated with the development of riociguat, along with the efficacy and safety data of riociguat from initial clinical trials and the pivotal Phase III randomized clinical trials in PAH and CTEPH.

Journal article

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