Downregulation of Aquaporin-1 in Alveolar Microvessels in Lungs Adapted to Chronic Heart Failure
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The threshold pressure for lung edema formation is increased in severe chronic heart failure (CHF) due to reduced microvascular permeability. The water channel aquaporin-1 (AQP1) is present in the pulmonary microvascular endothelium, and a number of studies suggest the importance of AQP1 as a molecular determinant of pulmonary microvascular water transport. The present study examined the abundance and localization of AQP1 in lungs from rats with CHF. We used two different models of CHF: ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD ligation) and aorta-banding (AB). Sham-operated rats served as controls. Echocardiographic verification of left ventricular dysfunction, enhanced left ventricular end-diastolic pressure, and right ventricular hypertrophy confirmed the presence of CHF. Western blotting of whole-lung homogenates revealed significant downregulation of AQP1 in LAD-ligated rats (24 h: 58 ± 5% of sham; 3 weeks: 8 ± 3% of sham; 9 weeks: 16 ± 6% of sham) and after AB (30 weeks: 37 ± 5% of sham), whereas the protein levels of the specific endothelial cell marker PECAM-1 was increased 3 weeks after LAD ligation (229 ± 20% of sham), but unchanged after 9 weeks and in the AB rats compared to controls. Immunohistochemical examination 3 weeks after LAD ligation showed intact labeling of PECAM-1 but an almost complete absence of AQP1 in the pulmonary alveolar microvessels in the CHF rats. These results suggest that downregulation of AQP1 in the alveolar microvessels may act as a compensatory mechanism to protect against formation of excessive pulmonary edema in CHF.
KeywordsHeart failure Lung Aquaporin-1 Endothelium
This study received financial support from the Danish Heart Association. We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Jeppe Prætorius, The Water and Salt Research Center, University of Aarhus, Denmark, for his kind assistance with the confocal microscopy. We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Niels Marcussen, University Institute of Pathology, Aarhus Kommune Hospital, Denmark, for his kind assistance with the morphometry.
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