Inhibition of pyruvate kinase M2 by reactive oxygen species contributes to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension

Dongqing Guo, Junzhong Gu, Hui Jiang, Asif Ahmed, Zhiren Zhang, Yuchun Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pulmonary arterial hypertension [1] is a proliferative disorder associated with enhanced proliferation and suppressed apoptosis of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is implicated in the development of PAH and regulates the vascular tone and functions. However, which cellular signaling mechanisms are triggered by ROS in PAH is still unknown. Hence, here we wished to characterize the signaling mechanisms triggered by ROS.

Methods and Results
By Western blots, we showed that increased intracellular ROS caused inhibition of the glycolytic pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) activity through promoting the phosphorylation of PKM2. Monocrotaline (MCT)-induced rats developed severe PAH and right ventricular hypertrophy, with a significant increase in the P-PKM2 and decrease in pyruvate kinase activity which could be attenuated with the treatments of PKM2 activators, FBP and l-serine. The antioxidant NAC, apocynin and MnTBAP had the similar protective effects in the development of PAH. In vitro assays confirmed that inhibition of PKM2 activity could modulate the flux of glycolytic intermediates in support of cell proliferation through the increased pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). Increased ROS and decreased PKM2 activity also promoted the Cav1.2 expression and intracellular calcium.

Our data provide new evidence that PKM2 makes a critical regulatory contribution to the PAHs for the first time. Decreased pyruvate kinase M2 activity confers additional advantages to rat PASMCs by allowing them to sustain anti-oxidant responses and thereby support cell survival in PAH. It may become a novel treatment strategy in PAH by using of PKM2 activators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Early online date13 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Activators
  • PKM2
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • ROS


Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of pyruvate kinase M2 by reactive oxygen species contributes to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this