Antioxidant-conjugated peptide attenuated metabolic reprogramming in pulmonary hypertension

Mathews Valuparampil Varghese, Maki Niihori, Cody A. Eccles, Sergey Kurdyukov, Joel James, Olga Rafikova, Ruslan Rafikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic cardiopulmonary disorder instigated by pulmonary vascular cell proliferation. Activation of Akt was previously reported to promote vascular remodeling. Also, the irreversible nitration of Y350 residue in Akt results in its activation. NitroAkt was increased in PAH patients and the SU5416/Hypoxia (SU/Hx) PAH model. This study investigated whether the prevention of Akt nitration in PAH by Akt targeted nitroxide-conjugated peptide (NP) could reverse vascular remodeling and metabolic reprogramming. Treatment of the SU/Hx model with NP significantly decreased nitration of Akt in lungs, attenuated right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy, and reduced RV systolic pressure. In the PAH model, Akt-nitration induces glycolysis by activation of the glucose transporter Glut4 and lactate dehydrogenase-A (LDHA). Decreased G6PD and increased GSK3β in SU/Hx additionally shunted intracellular glucose via glycolysis. The increased glycolytic rate upregulated anaplerosis due to activation of pyruvate carboxylase in a nitroAkt-dependent manner. NP treatment resolved glycolytic switch and activated collateral pentose phosphate and glycogenesis pathways. Prevention of Akt-nitration significantly controlled pyruvate in oxidative phosphorylation by decreasing lactate and increasing pyruvate dehydrogenases activities. Histopathological studies showed significantly reduced pulmonary vascular proliferation. Based on our current observation, preventing Akt-nitration by using an Akt-targeted nitroxide-conjugated peptide could be a useful treatment option for controlling vascular proliferation in PAH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Akt
  • Anaplerosis
  • Metabolism
  • Nitroxide-conjugated peptide
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Warburg effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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