Identification of Hypoxia Induced Metabolism Associated Genes in Pulmonary Hypertension

Y.Y. He*, X.M. Xie, H.D. Zhang, J. Ye, S. Gencer, E.P.C. van der Vorst, Y. Doering, C. Weber, X.B. Pang, Z.C. Jing, Y. Yan*, Z.Y. Han*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) associated with hypoxia and lung disease (Group 3) is the second most common form of PH and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This study was aimed to identify hypoxia induced metabolism associated genes (MAGs) for better understanding of hypoxic PH.Methods: Rat pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) were isolated and cultured in normoxic or hypoxic condition for 24 h. Cells were harvested for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. Functional annotation of distinguishing metabolites was performed using Metaboanalyst. Top 10 enriched metabolite sets were selected for the identification of metabolism associated genes (MAGs) with a relevance score >8 in Genecards. Transcriptomic data from lungs of hypoxic PH in mice/rats or of PH patients were accessed from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database or open-access online platform. Connectivity Map analysis was performed to identify potential compounds to reverse the metabolism associated gene profile under hypoxia stress. The construction and module analysis of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was performed. Hub genes were then identified and used to generate LASSO model to determine its accuracy to predict occurrence of PH.Results: A total of 36 altered metabolites and 1,259 unique MAGs were identified in rat PASMCs under hypoxia. 38 differentially expressed MAGs in mouse lungs of hypoxic PH were revealed, with enrichment in multi-pathways including regulation of glucose metabolic process, which might be reversed by drugs such as blebbistatin. 5 differentially expressed MAGs were displayed in SMCs of Sugen 5416/hypoxia induced PH rats at the single cell resolution. Furthermore, 6 hub genes (Cat, Ephx1, Gpx3, Gstm4, Gstm5, and Gsto1) out of 42 unique hypoxia induced MAGs were identified. Higher Cat, Ephx1 and lower Gsto1 were displayed in mouse lungs under hypoxia (all p < 0.05), in consistent with the alteration in lungs of PH patients. The hub gene-based LASSO model can predict the occurrence of PH (AUC = 0.90).Conclusion: Our findings revealed six hypoxia-induced metabolism associated hub genes, and shed some light on the molecular mechanism and therapeutic targets in hypoxic PH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number753727
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2021


  • pulmonary hypertension
  • hypoxia
  • metabolism associated genes
  • metabolomics
  • transcriptomics


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