ITE inhibits growth of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells

Ling pin Pang, Yan Li, Qing yun Zou, Chi Zhou, Wei Lei, Jing Zheng, Shi an Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a deadly disorder is associated with excessive growth of human pulmonary artery endothelial (HPAECs) and smooth muscle (HPASMCs) cells. Current therapies primarily aim at promoting vasodilation, which only ameliorates clinical symptoms without a cure. 2-(1′H-indole-3′-carbonyl)-thiazole-4-carboxylic acid methyl ester (ITE) is an endogenous aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligand, and mediates many cellular function including cell growth. However, the roles of ITE in human lung endothelial cells remain elusive. Herein, we tested a hypothesis that ITE inhibits growth of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells via AhR. Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed to localize AhR expression in human lung tissues. The crystal violet method and MTT assay were used to determine ITE's effects on growth of HPAECs. The AhR activation in HPAECs was confirmed using Western blotting and RT-qPCR. The role of AhR in ITE-affected proliferation of HPAECs was assessed using siRNA knockdown method followed by the crystal violet method. Results: Immunohistochemistry revealed that AhR was present in human lung tissues, primarily in endothelial and smooth muscle cells of pulmonary veins and arteries, as well as in bronchial and alveolar sac epithelia. We also found that ITE dose- and time-dependently inhibited proliferation of HPAECs with a maximum inhibition of 83% at 20 µM after 6 days of treatment. ITE rapidly decreased AhR protein levels, while it increased mRNA levels of cytochrome P450 (CYP), family 1, member A1 (CYP1A1) and B1 (CYP1B1), indicating activation of the AhR/CYP1A1 and AhR/CYP1B1 pathways in HPAECs. The AhR siRNA significantly suppressed AhR protein expression, whereas it did not significantly alter ITE-inhibited growth of HPAECs. Conclusions: ITE suppresses growth of HPAECs independent of AhR, suggesting that ITE may play an important role in preventing excessive growth of lung endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Lung Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 14 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aryl hydrocarbon receptor
  • Growth
  • ITE
  • Pulmonary artery endothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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