Publications by authors named "Scott A Hahn"

10 Publications

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Smooth muscle cell CYB5R3 preserves cardiac and vascular function under chronic hypoxic stress.

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2021 Sep 15;162:72-80. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America; Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America; Center for Microvascular Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America. Electronic address:

Chronic hypoxia is a major driver of cardiovascular complications, including heart failure. The nitric oxide (NO) - soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) - cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) pathway is integral to vascular tone maintenance. Specifically, NO binds its receptor sGC within vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) in its reduced heme (Fe) form to increase intracellular cGMP production, activate protein kinase G (PKG) signaling, and induce vessel relaxation. Under chronic hypoxia, oxidative stress drives oxidation of sGC heme (Fe→Fe), rendering it NO-insensitive. We previously showed that cytochrome b5 reductase 3 (CYB5R3) in SMC is a sGC reductase important for maintaining NO-dependent vasodilation and conferring resilience to systemic hypertension and sickle cell disease-associated pulmonary hypertension. To test whether CYB5R3 may be protective in the context of chronic hypoxia, we subjected SMC-specific CYB5R3 knockout mice (SMC CYB5R3 KO) to 3 weeks hypoxia and assessed vascular and cardiac function using echocardiography, pressure volume loops and wire myography. Hypoxic stress caused 1) biventricular hypertrophy in both WT and SMC CYB5R3 KO, but to a larger degree in KO mice, 2) blunted vasodilation to NO-dependent activation of sGC in coronary and pulmonary arteries of KO mice, and 3) decreased, albeit still normal, cardiac function in KO mice. Overall, these data indicate that SMC CYB5R3 deficiency potentiates bilateral ventricular hypertrophy and blunts NO-dependent vasodilation under chronic hypoxia conditions. This implicates that SMC CYB5R3 KO mice post 3-week hypoxia have early stages of cardiac remodeling and functional changes that could foretell significantly impaired cardiac function with longer exposure to hypoxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2021.09.005DOI Listing
September 2021

Metabolic Syndrome Mediates ROS-miR-193b-NFYA-Dependent Downregulation of Soluble Guanylate Cyclase and Contributes to Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction.

Circulation 2021 Aug 23;144(8):615-637. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Pittsburgh Heart, Lung and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute (T.S., L.W., C.E.-D., S.A.H., E.R.R., M.R.D., J.J.B., Y.T., M.R., S.S., C.S.H., D.G., D.A.G., E.A.G., S.Y.C., A.C.S., C.F.M., M.T.G.), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA.

Background: Many patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction have metabolic syndrome and develop exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension (EIPH). Increases in pulmonary vascular resistance in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction portend a poor prognosis; this phenotype is referred to as combined precapillary and postcapillary pulmonary hypertension (CpcPH). Therapeutic trials for EIPH and CpcPH have been disappointing, suggesting the need for strategies that target upstream mechanisms of disease. This work reports novel rat EIPH models and mechanisms of pulmonary vascular dysfunction centered around the transcriptional repression of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) enzyme in pulmonary artery (PA) smooth muscle cells.

Methods: We used obese ZSF-1 leptin-receptor knockout rats (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction model), obese ZSF-1 rats treated with SU5416 to stimulate resting pulmonary hypertension (obese+sugen, CpcPH model), and lean ZSF-1 rats (controls). Right and left ventricular hemodynamics were evaluated using implanted catheters during treadmill exercise. PA function was evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging and myography. Overexpression of nuclear factor Y α subunit (NFYA), a transcriptional enhancer of sGC β1 subunit (sGCβ1), was performed by PA delivery of adeno-associated virus 6. Treatment groups received the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin in drinking water. PA smooth muscle cells from rats and humans were cultured with palmitic acid, glucose, and insulin to induce metabolic stress.

Results: Obese rats showed normal resting right ventricular systolic pressures, which significantly increased during exercise, modeling EIPH. Obese+sugen rats showed anatomic PA remodeling and developed elevated right ventricular systolic pressure at rest, which was exacerbated with exercise, modeling CpcPH. Myography and magnetic resonance imaging during dobutamine challenge revealed PA functional impairment of both obese groups. PAs of obese rats produced reactive oxygen species and decreased sGCβ1 expression. Mechanistically, cultured PA smooth muscle cells from obese rats and humans with diabetes or treated with palmitic acid, glucose, and insulin showed increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, which enhanced miR-193b-dependent RNA degradation of nuclear factor Y α subunit (NFYA), resulting in decreased sGCβ1-cGMP signaling. Forced NYFA expression by adeno-associated virus 6 delivery increased sGCβ1 levels and improved exercise pulmonary hypertension in obese+sugen rats. Treatment of obese+sugen rats with empagliflozin improved metabolic syndrome, reduced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and miR-193b levels, restored NFYA/sGC activity, and prevented EIPH.

Conclusions: In heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and CpcPH models, metabolic syndrome contributes to pulmonary vascular dysfunction and EIPH through enhanced reactive oxygen species and miR-193b expression, which downregulates NFYA-dependent sGCβ1 expression. Adeno-associated virus-mediated NFYA overexpression and SGLT2 inhibition restore NFYA-sGCβ1-cGMP signaling and ameliorate EIPH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.053889DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8384699PMC
August 2021

Angiotensin II augments renal vascular smooth muscle soluble GC expression via an AT receptor-forkhead box subclass O transcription factor signalling axis.

Br J Pharmacol 2021 May 7. Epub 2021 May 7.

Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background And Purpose: Reduced renal blood flow triggers activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) leading to renovascular hypertension. Renal vascular smooth muscle expression of the NO receptor, soluble GC (sGC), modulates the vasodilator response needed to control renal vascular tone and blood flow. Here, we tested if angiotensin II (Ang II) affects sGC expression via an AT receptor-forkhead box subclass O (FoxO) transcription factor dependent mechanism.

Experimental Approach: Using a murine two-kidney-one-clip (2K1C) renovascular hypertension model, we measured renal artery vasodilatory function and sGC expression. Additionally, we conducted cell culture studies using rat renal pre-glomerular smooth muscle cells (RPGSMCs) to test the in vitro mechanistic effects of Ang II treatment on sGC expression and downstream function.

Key Results: Contralateral, unclipped renal arteries in 2K1C mice showed increased NO-dependent vasorelaxation compared to sham control mice. Immunofluorescence studies revealed increased sGC protein expression in 2K1C contralateral renal arteries over sham controls. RPGSMCs treated with Ang II caused a significant up-regulation of sGC mRNA and protein expression as well as downstream sGC-dependent signalling. Ang II signalling effects on sGC expression occurred through an AT receptor and FoxO transcription factor-dependent mechanism at both the mRNA and protein expression levels.

Conclusion And Implications: Renal artery smooth muscle, in vivo and in vitro, up-regulates expression of sGC following RAAS activity. In both cases, up-regulation of sGC leads to increased downstream cGMP signalling, suggesting a previously unrecognized protective mechanism to improve renal blood flow in the uninjured contralateral renal artery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.15522DOI Listing
May 2021

Xanthine Oxidase Drives Hemolysis and Vascular Malfunction in Sickle Cell Disease.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2021 02 3;41(2):769-782. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology (H.M.S., D.A.V., A.C.S.), University of Pittsburgh, PA.

Objective: Chronic hemolysis is a hallmark of sickle cell disease (SCD) and a driver of vasculopathy; however, the mechanisms contributing to hemolysis remain incompletely understood. Although XO (xanthine oxidase) activity has been shown to be elevated in SCD, its role remains unknown. XO binds endothelium and generates oxidants as a byproduct of hypoxanthine and xanthine catabolism. We hypothesized that XO inhibition decreases oxidant production leading to less hemolysis. Approach and Results: Wild-type mice were bone marrow transplanted with control (AA) or sickle (SS) Townes bone marrow. After 12 weeks, mice were treated with 10 mg/kg per day of febuxostat (Uloric), Food and Drug Administration-approved XO inhibitor, for 10 weeks. Hematologic analysis demonstrated increased hematocrit, cellular hemoglobin, and red blood cells, with no change in reticulocyte percentage. Significant decreases in cell-free hemoglobin and increases in haptoglobin suggest XO inhibition decreased hemolysis. Myographic studies demonstrated improved pulmonary vascular dilation and blunted constriction, indicating improved pulmonary vasoreactivity, whereas pulmonary pressure and cardiac function were unaffected. The role of hepatic XO in SCD was evaluated by bone marrow transplanting hepatocyte-specific XO knockout mice with SS Townes bone marrow. However, hepatocyte-specific XO knockout, which results in >50% diminution in circulating XO, did not affect hemolysis levels or vascular function, suggesting hepatocyte-derived elevation of circulating XO is not the driver of hemolysis in SCD.

Conclusions: Ten weeks of febuxostat treatment significantly decreased hemolysis and improved pulmonary vasoreactivity in a mouse model of SCD. Although hepatic XO accounts for >50% of circulating XO, it is not the source of XO driving hemolysis in SCD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.120.315081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8185582PMC
February 2021

Smooth muscle cytochrome b5 reductase 3 deficiency accelerates pulmonary hypertension development in sickle cell mice.

Blood Adv 2019 12;3(23):4104-4116

Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, Department of Medicine.

Pulmonary and systemic vasculopathies are significant risk factors for early morbidity and death in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). An underlying mechanism of SCD vasculopathy is vascular smooth muscle (VSM) nitric oxide (NO) resistance, which is mediated by NO scavenging reactions with plasma hemoglobin (Hb) and reactive oxygen species that can oxidize soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), the NO receptor. Prior studies show that cytochrome b5 reductase 3 (CYB5R3), known as methemoglobin reductase in erythrocytes, functions in VSM as an sGC heme iron reductase critical for reducing and sensitizing sGC to NO and generating cyclic guanosine monophosphate for vasodilation. Therefore, we hypothesized that VSM CYB5R3 deficiency accelerates development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in SCD. Bone marrow transplant was used to create SCD chimeric mice with background smooth muscle cell (SMC)-specific tamoxifen-inducible Cyb5r3 knockout (SMC R3 KO) and wild-type (WT) control. Three weeks after completing tamoxifen treatment, we observed 60% knockdown of pulmonary arterial SMC CYB5R3, 5 to 6 mm Hg elevated right-ventricular (RV) maximum systolic pressure (RVmaxSP) and biventricular hypertrophy in SS chimeras with SMC R3 KO (SS/R3KD) relative to WT (SS/R3WT). RV contractility, heart rate, hematological parameters, and cell-free Hb were similar between groups. When identically generated SS/R3 chimeras were studied 12 weeks after completing tamoxifen treatment, RVmaxSP in SS/R3KD had not increased further, but RV hypertrophy relative to SS/R3WT persisted. These are the first studies to establish involvement of SMC CYB5R3 in SCD-associated development of PH, which can exist in mice by 5 weeks of SMC CYB5R3 protein deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000621DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963246PMC
December 2019

Loss of smooth muscle CYB5R3 amplifies angiotensin II-induced hypertension by increasing sGC heme oxidation.

JCI Insight 2019 10 3;4(19). Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, and.

Nitric oxide regulates BP by binding the reduced heme iron (Fe2+) in soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and relaxing vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). We previously showed that sGC heme iron reduction (Fe3+ → Fe2+) is modulated by cytochrome b5 reductase 3 (CYB5R3). However, the in vivo role of SMC CYB5R3 in BP regulation remains elusive. Here, we generated conditional smooth muscle cell-specific Cyb5r3 KO mice (SMC CYB5R3-KO) to test if SMC CYB5R3 loss affects systemic BP in normotension and hypertension via regulation of the sGC redox state. SMC CYB5R3-KO mice exhibited a 5.84-mmHg increase in BP and impaired acetylcholine-induced vasodilation in mesenteric arteries compared with controls. To drive sGC oxidation and elevate BP, we infused mice with angiotensin II. We found that SMC CYB5R3-KO mice exhibited a 14.75-mmHg BP increase, and mesenteric arteries had diminished nitric oxide-dependent vasodilation but increased responsiveness to sGC heme-independent activator BAY 58-2667 over controls. Furthermore, acute injection of BAY 58-2667 in angiotensin II-treated SMC CYB5R3-KO mice showed greater BP reduction compared with controls. Together, these data provide the first in vivo evidence to our knowledge that SMC CYB5R3 is an sGC heme reductase in resistance arteries and provides resilience against systemic hypertension development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.129183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6795404PMC
October 2019

Antagonism of Forkhead Box Subclass O Transcription Factors Elicits Loss of Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase Expression.

Mol Pharmacol 2019 06 15;95(6):629-637. Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute (J.C.G., B.G.D., M.P.M., S.A.H., S.Y., K.C.W., A.C.S.) and Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology (J.C.G., A.C.S.), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Nitric oxide (NO) stimulates soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) activity, leading to elevated intracellular cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP) and subsequent vascular smooth muscle relaxation. It is known that downregulation of sGC expression attenuates vascular dilation and contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. However, it is not well understood how sGC transcription is regulated. Here, we demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of Forkhead box subclass O (FoxO) transcription factors using the small-molecule inhibitor AS1842856 significantly blunts sGC and mRNA expression by more than 90%. These effects are concentration-dependent and concomitant with greater than 90% reduced expression of the known FoxO transcriptional targets, glucose-6-phosphatase and growth arrest and DNA damage protein 45 (Gadd45). Similarly, sGC and sGC protein expression showed a concentration-dependent downregulation. Consistent with the loss of sGC and mRNA and protein expression, pretreatment of vascular smooth muscle cells with the FoxO inhibitor decreased sGC activity measured by cGMP production following stimulation with an NO donor. To determine if FoxO inhibition resulted in a functional impairment in vascular relaxation, we cultured mouse thoracic aortas with the FoxO inhibitor and conducted ex vivo two-pin myography studies. Results showed that aortas have significantly blunted sodium nitroprusside-induced (NO-dependent) vasorelaxation and a 42% decrease in sGC expression after 48-hour FoxO inhibitor treatment. Taken together, these data are the first to identify that FoxO transcription factor activity is necessary for sGC expression and NO-dependent relaxation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.118.115386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527398PMC
June 2019

Nitric Oxide-Independent Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Activation Improves Vascular Function and Cardiac Remodeling in Sickle Cell Disease.

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2018 05;58(5):636-647

2 Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute, Department of Medicine.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with intravascular hemolysis and oxidative inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) signaling. BAY 54-6544 is a small-molecule activator of oxidized soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), which, unlike endogenous NO and the sGC stimulator, BAY 41-8543, preferentially binds and activates heme-free, NO-insensitive sGC to restore enzymatic cGMP production. We tested orally delivered sGC activator, BAY 54-6544 (17 mg/kg/d), sGC stimulator, BAY 41-8543, sildenafil, and placebo for 4-12 weeks in the Berkeley transgenic mouse model of SCD (BERK-SCD) and their hemizygous (Hemi) littermate controls (BERK-Hemi). Right ventricular (RV) maximum systolic pressure (RVmaxSP) was measured using micro right-heart catheterization. RV hypertrophy (RVH) was determined using Fulton's index and RV corrected weight (ratio of RV to tibia). Pulmonary artery vasoreactivity was tested for endothelium-dependent and -independent vessel relaxation. Right-heart catheterization revealed higher RVmaxSP and RVH in BERK-SCD versus BERK-Hemi, which worsened with age. Treatment with the sGC activator more effectively lowered RVmaxSP and RVH, with 90-day treatment delivering superior results, when compared with other treatments and placebo groups. In myography experiments, acetylcholine-induced (endothelium-dependent) and sodium-nitroprusside-induced (endothelium-independent NO donor) relaxation of the pulmonary artery harvested from placebo-treated BERK-SCD was impaired relative to BERK-Hemi but improved after therapy with sGC activator. By contrast, no significant effect for sGC stimulator or sildenafil was observed in BERK-SCD. These findings suggest that sGC is oxidized in the pulmonary arteries of transgenic SCD mice, leading to blunted responses to NO, and that the sGC activator, BAY 54-6544, may represent a novel therapy for SCD-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension and cardiac remodeling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2017-0292OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946331PMC
May 2018

Targeting Pulmonary Endothelial Hemoglobin α Improves Nitric Oxide Signaling and Reverses Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Dysfunction.

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2017 12;57(6):733-744

2 Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute.

Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by pulmonary endothelial dysfunction. Previous work showed that systemic artery endothelial cells (ECs) express hemoglobin (Hb) α to control nitric oxide (NO) diffusion, but the role of this system in pulmonary circulation has not been evaluated. We hypothesized that up-regulation of Hb α in pulmonary ECs contributes to NO depletion and pulmonary vascular dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension. Primary distal pulmonary arterial vascular smooth muscle cells, lung tissue sections from unused donor (control) and idiopathic pulmonary artery (PA) hypertension lungs, and rat and mouse models of SU5416/hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH) were used. Immunohistochemical, immunocytochemical, and immunoblot analyses and transfection, infection, DNA synthesis, apoptosis, migration, cell count, and protein activity assays were performed in this study. Cocultures of human pulmonary microvascular ECs and distal pulmonary arterial vascular smooth muscle cells, lung tissue from control and pulmonary hypertensive lungs, and a mouse model of chronic hypoxia-induced PH were used. Immunohistochemical, immunoblot analyses, spectrophotometry, and blood vessel myography experiments were performed in this study. We find increased expression of Hb α in pulmonary endothelium from humans and mice with PH compared with controls. In addition, we show up-regulation of Hb α in human pulmonary ECs cocultured with PA smooth muscle cells in hypoxia. We treated pulmonary ECs with a Hb α mimetic peptide that disrupts the association of Hb α with endothelial NO synthase, and found that cells treated with the peptide exhibited increased NO signaling compared with a scrambled peptide. Myography experiments using pulmonary arteries from hypoxic mice show that the Hb α mimetic peptide enhanced vasodilation in response to acetylcholine. Our findings reveal that endothelial Hb α functions as an endogenous scavenger of NO in the pulmonary endothelium. Targeting this pathway may offer a novel therapeutic target to increase endogenous levels of NO in PH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2016-0418OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5765416PMC
December 2017

Cytochrome b5 Reductase 3 Modulates Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Redox State and cGMP Signaling.

Circ Res 2017 Jul 5;121(2):137-148. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

From the Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute (M.M.R., A.T.N., M.P.M., S.A.H., C.S.-W., N.T.C., N.C.-M., K.C.W., M.T.G., A.C.S.), Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine (C.S.-W., M.T.G.), Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology (S.J., C.J.B., F.J.S., A.C.S.), and Division of Renal-Electrolyte (C.J.B.), University of Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown (E.E.K.); and Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Texas Houston Medical School (E.M.).

Rationale: Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) heme iron, in its oxidized state (Fe), is desensitized to NO and limits cGMP production needed for downstream activation of protein kinase G-dependent signaling and blood vessel dilation.

Objective: Although reactive oxygen species are known to oxidize the sGC heme iron, the basic mechanism(s) governing sGC heme iron recycling to its NO-sensitive, reduced state remain poorly understood.

Methods And Results: Oxidant challenge studies show that vascular smooth muscle cells have an intrinsic ability to reduce oxidized sGC heme iron and form protein-protein complexes between cytochrome b5 reductase 3, also known as methemoglobin reductase, and oxidized sGC. Genetic knockdown and pharmacological inhibition in vascular smooth muscle cells reveal that cytochrome b5 reductase 3 expression and activity is critical for NO-stimulated cGMP production and vasodilation. Mechanistically, we show that cytochrome b5 reductase 3 directly reduces oxidized sGC required for NO sensitization as assessed by biochemical, cellular, and ex vivo assays.

Conclusions: Together, these findings identify new insights into NO-sGC-cGMP signaling and reveal cytochrome b5 reductase 3 as the first identified physiological sGC heme iron reductase in vascular smooth muscle cells, serving as a critical regulator of cGMP production and protein kinase G-dependent signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310705DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5527687PMC
July 2017
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