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Pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis: a focus on the EIF2AK4 mutation in onset and pathogenesis

Authors Ma L, Bao R

Received 17 March 2015

Accepted for publication 3 May 2015

Published 7 August 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 181—188


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Martin H. Maurer

Lijiang Ma,1,* Ruijun Bao2,*

1Department of Pediatrics and Medicine, Division of Molecular Genetics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, 2The Children's IBD Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis (PCH) is a pulmonary vascular disease that mainly affects small capillaries in the lung, and is often misdiagnosed as pulmonary arterial hypertension or pulmonary veno-occlusive disease due to similarities in their clinical presentations, prognosis, and management. In patients who are symptomatic, there is a high mortality rate with median survival of 3 years after diagnosis. Both idiopathic and familial PCH cases are being reported, indicating there is genetic component in disease etiology. Mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α kinase 4 (EIF2AK4) gene were identified in familial and idiopathic PCH cases, suggesting EIF2AK4 is a genetic risk factor for PCH. EIF2AK4 mutations were identified in 100% (6/6) of autosomal recessively inherited familial PCH and 20% (2/10) of sporadic PCH cases. EIF2AK4 is a member of serine/threonine kinases. It downregulates protein synthesis in response to a variety of cellular stress such as hypoxia, viral infection, and amino acid deprivation. Bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) is a major genetic risk factor in pulmonary arterial hypertension and EIF2AK4 potentially connects with BMPR2 to cause PCH. L-Arginine is substrate of nitric oxide synthase, and L-arginine is depleted during the production of nitric oxide, which may activate EIF2AK4 to inhibit protein synthesis and negatively regulate vasculogenesis. Mammalian target of rapamycin and EIF2α kinase are two major pathways for translational regulation. Mutant EIF2AK4 could promote proliferation of small pulmonary arteries by crosstalk with mammalian targets of the rapamycin signaling pathway. EIF2AK4 may regulate angiogenesis by modulating the immune system in PCH pathogenesis. The mechanisms of abnormal capillary angiogenesis are suggested to be similar to that of tumor vascularization. Specific therapies were developed according to pathogenesis and are proved to be effective in reported cases. Targeting the EIF2AK4 pathway may provide a novel therapy for PCH.

Keywords: EIF2AK4, genetics, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pulmonary veno-occlusive disease

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