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Endothelial Cell Molecular and Metabolic Heterogeneity in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease, characterized by a dramatic increase in pulmonary arterial pressure and an intense remodeling of small intrapulmonary arteries. With the exception of the lung replacement therapy, PAH remains an incurable disease with poor survival. Recent studies have shown that in PAH, rewiring of the metabolism of the lung endothelial cells (ECs) promotes vascular remodeling. However, these studies overlooked that lung ECs are exposed to diverse microenvironments in vivo (various hemodynamic forces and stimuli), which might result in their phenotypic and metabolic heterogeneity, though this has never been investigated. OBJECTIVES & EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: In order to characterize, for the 1st time, the lung EC heterogeneity in PAH, identify EC subsets, and determine in an unbiased way the metabolic gene expression profiles of these EC subsets, I will use single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) on freshly isolated lung ECs from PAH patients and from an animal model of PH. As proof-of-concept, I will evaluate the effects of a new metabolic therapy on these EC subsets, in vivo, in comparison to a clinically-used, ameliorative but not curative, PAH therapy. This approach, already validated in the host lab, promises to lay the foundation of a new paradigm in PAH where lung ECs are phenotypically and metabolically heterogeneous. It will yield novel insights into PAH pathophysiology, identify specific EC subpopulations driving the vascular remodeling process as well as new potential metabolic targets. CAREER DEVELOPMENT: Combining my expertise on PAH (PhD thesis) together with state-of-the-art frontline technology (scRNA-seq) and innovative science (EC metabolism) (within the host lab) in a multi-disciplinary project and international research environment will ensure successful achievement of the project goals, enhance my scientific output and offer me a highly competitive basis for my future career in academia.
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Rijvisschestraat 120
9052 Zwijnaarde - Gent


Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 166 320

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 846615


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2019

  • End date

    31 August 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 166 320

  • EU contribution

    € 166 320

Coordinated by: