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mTOR Signaling in Pulmonary Vascular Disease: Pathogenic Role and Therapeutic Target.

  • Author(s): Babicheva, Aleksandra;
  • Makino, Ayako;
  • Yuan, Jason X-J
  • et al.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and fatal disease without a cure. The exact pathogenic mechanisms of PAH are complex and poorly understood, yet a number of abnormally expressed genes and regulatory pathways contribute to sustained vasoconstriction and vascular remodeling of the distal pulmonary arteries. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is one of the major signaling pathways implicated in regulating cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and protein synthesis. Here we will describe the canonical mTOR pathway, structural and functional differences between mTOR complexes 1 and 2, as well as the crosstalk with other important signaling cascades in the development of PAH. The pathogenic role of mTOR in pulmonary vascular remodeling and sustained vasoconstriction due to its contribution to proliferation, migration, phenotypic transition, and gene regulation in pulmonary artery smooth muscle and endothelial cells will be discussed. Despite the progress in our elucidation of the etiology and pathogenesis of PAH over the two last decades, there is a lack of effective therapeutic agents to treat PAH patients representing a significant unmet clinical need. In this review, we will explore the possibility and therapeutic potential to use inhibitors of mTOR signaling cascade to treat PAH.

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