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3679 The Role of TSP-1, TGF-B1 and Galectin-3 in the Pathogenesis of ACS in Sickle Cell Disease

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 113. Hemoglobinopathies, Excluding Thalassemia: Basic and Translational: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Sickle Cell Disease, Translational Research, Clinical Research, Hemoglobinopathies, Diseases, Study Population, Human
Monday, December 12, 2022, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Ali San, BS1,2, Gowtham K Annarapu, PhD3, Lynda Little-Ihrig4*, Enrico M. Novelli, MD, MS5 and Sruti Shiva, PhD3,6

1Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Kansas City, MO
2Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City, MO
3Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
4Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
5Heart, Lung and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
6Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary blood disorder characterized by painful vaso-occlusive episodes (VOE), acute chest syndrome (ACS), stroke and other clinical complications. Seventy-six percent of the primary and secondary complications of SCD are pulmonary and are strongly associated with hemolysis. ACS is the main acute pulmonary complication of SCD and is characterized by critical lung injury from vaso-occlusion in the pulmonary vasculature, release of inflammatory mediators, and alveolar edema decreasing gas exchange. Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by increased production of inflammatory mediators, increased oxidative stress, and aberrant cellular proliferation via platelet-derived thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) and transforming growth factor-1 (TGF-B1) is increasingly implicated in pulmonary vascular pathology in other diseases. In addition, a mediator of TGF-B1, galectin-3, has been shown to be induce tissue-specific fibrosis via fibroblast activation in animal disease models. However, the mechanisms by which human pulmonary artery endothelial cell (HPAEC) dysfunction is instigated remains unclear. We hypothesized a novel theory that TSP-1, TGF-B1, and galectin-3 play a causal role in the pathogenesis of ACS in SCD.

We set out to test our hypothesis by measuring TSP-1, TGF-B1 and galectin-3 plasma levels in a cohort of patients with SCD with (n=10) and without history of ACS (n=20), and healthy, race and age-matched controls (n=10). Patients with ACS had significantly higher plasma levels of active TGF-B1 (11.34 ng/mL) than those of patients without ACS (5.2 ng/mL) and healthy controls (3.4 ng/mL). Similarly, we found that SCD patients with a history of ACS had significantly higher levels of TSP-1 (642.7 ng/mL) and galectin-3 (8.87 ng/mL) as compared to patients without ACS (285.9 ng/mL and 6.02 ng/mL, respectively) and controls (133.36 ng/mL and 5.2 ng/mL, respectively). We also found a significant correlation between TSP-1 and TGF-B1 levels in non-ACS SCD patients and patients with ACS as well as galectin-3 and TGF-B1 levels in the plasma of all SCD patients combined. Given that platelets are a significant source of TSP-1 and TGF-B1, we next tested whether platelets mechanistically potentiate endothelial cell dysfunction in SCD. HPAECs were co-cultured with platelets isolated from healthy vs steady-state SCD individuals. Platelets in co-culture were quiescent or activated with the agonists 0.1 U/mL thrombin, 25 ug/mL collagen, and 2.5 uM free heme for 6 hours, and HPAEC proliferation was measured via crystal violet staining 48 hours after exposure. We found HPAEC proliferation upon control and SCD platelet exposure to free heme, but SCD platelets exposed to heme induced a more robust response in HPAEC proliferation. In addition, we found that collagen only significantly promoted HPAEC proliferation in the presence of SCD platelets and not control platelets.

Activated platelets, in the presence of hemolysis, release large amounts of TSP1 and TGF-B1 that may lead to enhanced endothelial cell proliferation and fibrosis in SCD, possibly via increased response to collagen by activated platelets. We will conduct further experiments to determine whether blockers of TSP-1 or its canonical CD47 endothelial receptor may abrogate aberrant cellular proliferation in SCD. Overall, the roles of TSP-1 and galectin-3 in pulmonary fibrotic injury via the TGF-B1 signaling pathway in SCD need to be further elucidated for therapeutic targeting.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH