Genomic stability of pulmonary artery endothelial colony-forming cells in culture

PVRI Member Authors: Micheala Aldred


Pulmonary vascular remodeling, including proliferation and migration of pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAEC), is a pathologic hallmark of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Multiple studies have shown evidence of increased levels of DNA damage and lineage-specific genetic changes in PAH lung vascular cells, suggesting increased genomic instability. Highly proliferative endothelial colony-forming cell (ECFC) clones can be isolated from PAEC. Here we utilized ECFC to track chromosomal copy number of 20 PAH and eight control clones across serial passages using genome-wide microarrays. All PAH clones were genomically stable for at least 20–22 population doublings. At very late passages, ECFC developed a highly aneuploid karyotype, but this was generally associated with senescence and was common to both PAH and controls. We also utilized ECFC to isolate the chromosomally abnormal cells from a mixed population of PAH PAEC. Analysis of PAEC harboring two different changes affecting chromosomes 1 and X demonstrated that both abnormalities were present in the same clone, indicating they originated in a common ancestral cell. In a second case, with a partial duplication of chromosome 17, clones carrying the duplication were more frequent at later passages than chromosomally normal clones from the same PAEC culture, suggesting the rearrangement may confer a proliferative advantage. Overall, this small study suggests that endothelial cells from PAH lungs are stable in culture, but that when chromosome abnormalities do occur, they may confer a selective advantage that allows expansion of the abnormal cell population and could contribute to lung vascular remodeling in vivo.

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Endothelin and Endothelium & Epithelium and Epithelial Transport
Pulmonary Hypertension


Kylie M. Drake, Chiara Federici, Heng T. Duong, Suzy A. Comhair, Serpil C. Erzurum, Kewal Asosingh, Micheala A. Aldred

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 2 cover image

May 2017

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 2

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