Increased contractility and impaired relaxation of the left pulmonary artery in a rabbit model of congenital diaphragmatic hernia
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Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is associated with pulmonary hypertension which is often difficult to manage and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Our aim was to study the pulmonary artery reactivity in an animal model of CDH.
To investigate the reactivity of the aorta and left pulmonary artery in a rabbit model of CDH, we studied the in vitro responses to the α1-adrenoceptor agonist phenylephrine (PE) and to both the muscarinic receptor agonist (ACh) and the nitric oxide (NO) donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP). Rabbits underwent surgery at 25 days of gestation. CDH was created in one fetus per horn (n = 8). Remaining fetuses were considered controls (n = 18). At term (30 days), the lung, left pulmonary artery, and aorta were dissected. In a separate group, endothelium was mechanically removed.
There were no differences in the contractile and relaxing responses of aorta in all groups. In left pulmonary artery, PE-induced contractions were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in CDH when compared with control group. The increased responsiveness to PE in CDH group was similar to that found in pulmonary artery without endothelium. The ACh-induced pulmonary artery relaxation was markedly reduced in CDH when compared with control group (p < 0.05), whereas no differences were found for SNP.
Our results show increased contractility and impairment in endothelium-dependent relaxation of pulmonary artery in CDH, mimicking an endothelial dysfunction, with preserved response to endothelium-independent mechanism.
KeywordsCongenital diaphragmatic hernia Vascular reactivity Left pulmonary artery Endothelial dysfunction Rabbit
We are grateful to Dr. Haroldo Alfredo Flores Toque for his help during the pharmacological procedures and to The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)—Brazil for financial support (Grant # 471496/2011-1).
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