Resident PW1+ progenitor cells participate in vascular remodeling during pulmonary arterial hypertension

France Dierick, Tiphaine Héry, Bénédicte Hoareau-Coudert, Nathalie Mougenot, Virginie Monceau, Caroline Claude, Mihaela Crisan, Vanessa Besson, Peter Dorfmüller, Gilles Marodon, Elie Fadel, Marc Humbert, Elisa Yaniz-Galende, Jean Sébastien Hulot, Giovanna Marazzi, David Sassoon, Florent Soubrier, Sophie Nadaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Rationale: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is characterized by vascular remodeling and neomuscularization. PW1+ progenitor cells can differentiate into smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in vitro. Objective: To determine the role of pulmonary PW1+ progenitor cells in vascular remodeling characteristic of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Methods and Results: We investigated their contribution during chronic hypoxia-induced vascular remodeling in Pw1nLacZ+/-mouse expressing β-galactosidase in PW1+ cells and in differentiated cells derived from PW1+ cells. PW1+ progenitor cells are present in the perivascular zone in rodent and human control lungs. Using progenitor markers, 3 distinct myogenic PW1+ cell populations were isolated from the mouse lung of which 2 were significantly increased after 4 days of chronic hypoxia. The number of proliferating pulmonary PW1+ cells and the proportion of β-gal+ vascular SMC were increased, indicating a recruitment of PW1+ cells and their differentiation into vascular SMC during early chronic hypoxia-induced neomuscularization. CXCR4 inhibition using AMD3100 prevented PW1+ cells differentiation into SMC but did not inhibit their proliferation. Bone marrow transplantation experiments showed that the newly formed β-gal+ SMC were not derived from circulating bone marrow-derived PW1+ progenitor cells, confirming a resident origin of the recruited PW1+ cells. The number of pulmonary PW1+ cells was also increased in rats after monocrotaline injection. In lung from pulmonary arterial hypertension patients, PW1-expressing cells were observed in large numbers in remodeled vascular structures. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the existence of a novel population of resident SMC progenitor cells expressing PW1 and participating in pulmonary hypertension-associated vascular remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-833
Number of pages12
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult stem cells
  • Hypertension, pulmonary
  • Hypoxia
  • Muscle, smooth, vascular
  • vascular remodeling


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