Genotype-phenotype effects of Bmpr2 mutations on disease severity in mouse models of pulmonary hypertension

PVRI Member Authors: Andrea Frump, James West


More than 350 mutations in the type-2 BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) receptor, BMPR2, have been identified in patients with heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH). However, only 30% of BMPR2 mutation carriers develop PAH, and we cannot predict which of these carriers will develop clinical disease. One possibility is that the nature of the BMPR2 mutation affects disease severity. This hypothesis has been difficult to test clinically, given the rarity of HPAH and the complexity of the confounding genetic and environmental risk factors. To test this hypothesis, therefore, we evaluated the susceptibility to experimental pulmonary hypertension (PH) of mice carrying different HPAH-associated Bmpr2 mutations on otherwise identical genetic backgrounds. Mice with Bmpr2ΔEx4–5 mutations (Bmpr2+/−), in which the mutant protein is not expressed, develop less severe PH in response to hypoxia or hypoxia with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibition than mice with an extracellular-domain Bmpr2ΔEx2 mutation (Bmpr2ΔEx2/+), in which the mutant protein is expressed. This was associated with a marked decrease in stabilizing phosphorylation of threonine 495 endothelial nitric oxide synthase (pThr495 eNOS) in Bmpr2ΔEx2/+ compared to wild-type and Bmpr2+/− mouse lungs. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that BMPR2 mutation types influence the severity of HPAH and suggest that patients with BMPR2 mutations who express mutant BMPR2 proteins by escaping non-sense-mediated messenger RNA decay (NMD– mutations) will develop more severe disease than HPAH patients with NMD+ mutations who do not express BMPR2 mutant proteins. Since decreased levels of pThr495 eNOS are associated with increased eNOS uncoupling, our data also suggest that this effect may result from defects in eNOS function.

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Animal Models
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Pulmonary Hypertension


Andrea L. Frump, Arunima Datta, Sampa Ghose, James West, Mark P. de Caestecker

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 4 cover image

December 2016

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 4

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