Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency contributes to metabolic abnormality and pulmonary hypertension

Mathews Valuparampil Varghese, Joel James, Olga Rafikova, Ruslan Rafikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that several patients with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (PH) had different types of G6PD deficiency. However, the role of G6PD in PH is multifactorial because G6PD is involved in controlling oxidative stress, metabolic switch, and red blood cell fragility. To delineate the contribution of G6PD to PH pathogenesis, we utilized a mouse line with decreased expression of G6PD (10% from wild-type level). We confirmed that mice with G6PD deficiency develop spontaneous pulmonary hypertension with pulmonary artery and right heart remodeling. G6PD deficiency resulted in increased free hemoglobin and activation of the p38 pathway, which we recently reported induces the development of PH in the sugen/hypoxia model via endothelial barrier dysfunction. Metabolomics analysis of G6PD deficient mice indicates the switch to alternative metabolic fluxes that feed into the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), resulting in the upregulation of oxidative stress, fatty acid pathway, and reduction in pyruvate production. Thus, G6PD deficiency did not reduce PPP flux that is important for proliferation but activated collateral pathways at the cost of increased oxidative stress. Indeed, we found the upregulation of myo-inositol oxidase, reduction in GSH/GSSG ratio, and increased nitration in the lungs of G6PD-deficient mice. Increased oxidative stress also results in the activation of PI3K, ERK1/2, and AMPK that contribute to the proliferation of pulmonary vasculature. Therefore, G6PD deficiency has a multimodal effect, including hemolysis, metabolic reprogramming, and oxidative stress leading to the PH phenotype in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L508-L521
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Glycolysis
  • Metabolism
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pentose phosphate pathway
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Vascular proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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