Hypoxia-Inducible Factor–Prolyl Hydroxylase Inhibitor Improves Leukocyte Energy Metabolism in Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia
The interplay between hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is critical for both inflammation and angiogenesis. In hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), we have previously observed that impairment of the TGF-β pathway is associated with downregulation of HIF-1α. HIF-1α accumulation is mandatory in situations of altered energy demand, such as during infection or hypoxia, by adjusting cell metabolism. Leukocytes undergo a HIF-1α-dependent switch from aerobic mitochondrial respiration to anaerobic glycolysis (glycolytic switch) after stimulation and during differentiation. We postulate that the decreased HIF-1α accumulation in HHT leads to a clinically observed immunodeficiency in these patients. Examination of HIF-1α and its target genes in freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from HHT patients revealed decreased gene expression and protein levels of HIF-1α and HIF-1α-regulated glycolytic enzymes. Treatment of these cells with the HIF–prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor, Roxadustat, rescued their ability to accumulate HIF-1α protein. Functional analysis of metabolic flux using a Seahorse FX extracellular flux analyzer showed that the extracellular acidification rate (indicator of glycolytic turnover) after Roxadustat treatment was comparable to non-HHT controls, while oxygen consumption (indicator of mitochondrial respiration) was slightly reduced. HIF stabilization may be a potential therapeutic target in HHT patients suffering from infections.