The Novel Lysosomal Autophagy Inhibitor (ROC-325) Ameliorates Experimental Pulmonary Hypertension

Changlei Bao, Shuxin Liang, Ying Han, Zi Yang, Shiyun Liu, Yanan Sun, Shichuang Zheng, Yuzhu Li, Ting Wang, Yali Gu, Kang Wu, Stephen M. Black, Jian Wang, Steffan T. Nawrocki, Jennifer S. Carew, Jason X.J. Yuan, Haiyang Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Autophagy plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension (PH). ROC-325 is a novel small molecule lysosomal autophagy inhibitor that has more potent anticancer activity than the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the latter has been prevalently used to inhibit autophagy. Here, we sought to determine the therapeutic benefit and mechanism of action of ROC-325 in experimental PH models. Methods and Results: Hemodynamics, echocardiography, and histology measurement showed that ROC-325 treatment prevented the development of PH, right ventricular hypertrophy, fibrosis, dysfunction, and vascular remodeling after monocrotaline and Sugen5416/hypoxia administration. ROC-325 attenuated high K+or alveolar hypoxia-induced pulmonary vasoconstriction and enhanced endothelial-dependent relaxation in isolated pulmonary artery rings. ROC-325 treatment inhibited autophagy and enhanced endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity in lung tissues of monocrotaline-PH rats. In cultured human and rat pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell and pulmonary arterial endothelial cell under hypoxia exposure, ROC-325 increased LC3B (light chain 3 beta) and p62 accumulation, endothelial cell nitric oxide production via phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (Ser1177) and dephosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (Thr495) as well as decreased HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor)-1α and HIF-2α stabilization. Conclusions: These data indicate that ROC-325 is a promising novel agent for the treatment of PH that inhibits autophagy, downregulates HIF levels, and increases nitric oxide production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ROC-325
  • autophagy
  • heart failure
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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