Mice with a specific deficiency of Pfkfb3 in myeloid cells are protected from hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension

Lina Wang, Xiaoyu Zhang, Yapeng Cao, Qian Ma, Xiaoxiao Mao, Jiean Xu, Qiuhua Yang, Yaqi Zhou, Rudolf Lucas, David J. Fulton, Yunchao Su, Scott A. Barman, Mei Hong, Zhiping Liu, Yuqing Huo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Macrophage infiltration into the lungs is a characteristic of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Glycolysis is the main metabolic pathway for macrophage activation. However, the effect of macrophage glycolysis on the development of PH remains unknown. We investigated the effect of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase 3 (PFKBF3), a critical enzyme of macrophage glycolysis, on PH development. Experimental Approach: Lung tissues from PH patients were examined by immunostaining with macrophage markers. PH was induced in Wistar rats with SU5416/hypoxia and in mice with hypoxia. Lungs and macrophages were isolated for analysis by RT-PCR, western blot, flow cytometry, and immunostaining. Key Results: Expression of glycolytic molecules was increased in circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and lung macrophages of PH patients. These results were also found in lung macrophages of SU5416/hypoxia (Su/Hx)-induced PH rats and hypoxia-induced PH mice. PH was ameliorated in myeloid-specific Pfkfb3-deficient mice (Pfkfb3ΔMϕ) or mice treated with the PFKFB3 inhibitor 3PO, compared with their controls. Alveolar macrophages of PH Pfkfb3ΔMϕ mice produced lower levels of growth factors and pro-inflammatory cytokines than those of control mice. Circulating myeloid cells and lung myeloid cells were much fewer in PH Pfkfb3ΔMϕ mice than controls. Mechanistically, overexpression of Hif1a or Hif2a in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) cultured with bone marrow of Pfkfb3ΔMϕ mice restored the decreased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors. Conclusions and Implications: Myeloid Pfkfb3 deficiency protects mice from PH, thereby suggesting that myeloid PFKFB3 is one of the important targets in the therapeutic effect of PFKFB3 inhibition in PH treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1072
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Hifs
  • PFKFB3
  • glycolysis
  • macrophage
  • pulmonary hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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