Precis Clin Med. 2023 Oct 9;6(4):pbad024.doi: 10.1093/pcmedi/pbad024. eCollection 2023 Dec.

NDRG1 promotes endothelial dysfunction and hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension by targeting TAF15



  • 1 Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China.

Free PMC article


Background: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) represents a threatening pathophysiologic state that can be induced by chronic hypoxia and is characterized by extensive vascular remodeling. However, the mechanism underlying hypoxia-induced vascular remodeling is not fully elucidated.

Methods and results: By using quantitative polymerase chain reactions, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate that the expression of N-myc downstream regulated gene-1 (NDRG1) is markedly increased in hypoxia-stimulated endothelial cells in a time-dependent manner as well as in human and rat endothelium lesions. To determine the role of NDRG1 in endothelial dysfunction, we performed loss-of-function studies using NDRG1 short hairpin RNAs and NDRG1 over-expression plasmids. In vitro, silencing NDRG1 attenuated proliferation, migration, and tube formation of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs) under hypoxia, while NDRG1 over-expression promoted these behaviors of HPAECs. Mechanistically, NDRG1 can directly interact with TATA-box binding protein associated factor 15 (TAF15) and promote its nuclear localization. Knockdown of TAF15 abrogated the effect of NDRG1 on the proliferation, migration and tube formation capacity of HPAECs. Bioinformatics studies found that TAF15 was involved in regulating PI3K-Akt, p53, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) signaling pathways, which have been proved to be PH-related pathways. In addition, vascular remodeling and right ventricular hypertrophy induced by hypoxia were markedly alleviated in NDRG1 knock-down rats compared with their wild-type littermates.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results indicate that hypoxia-induced upregulation of NDRG1 contributes to endothelial dysfunction through targeting TAF15, which ultimately contributes to the development of hypoxia-induced PH.

Keywords: N-myc downstream regulated gene-1; TATA-box binding protein associated factor 15; endothelial dysfunction; hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension; vascular remodeling.