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J Clin Invest. 1988 Nov;82(5):1495-502.

Augmentation of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in the isolated perfused rat lung by in vitro antagonists of endothelium-dependent relaxation.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville 22908.


The role of the endothelium in hypoxic constriction of the intact pulmonary vascular bed has not been clearly elucidated. To test for a possible role for endothelium-derived relaxing factor(s) (EDRF) in the hypoxic pressor response, isolated, whole blood-perfused rat lungs from male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with meclofenamate were prepared. Three protocols were performed, including: (a) normal saline (control); (b) the putative EDRF inhibitors, eicosatetraynoic acid (ETYA, 1 X 10(-4) M) or nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA, 1 X 10(-4) M) versus vehicle DMSO; and (c) the putative EDRF inhibitor hydroquinone (HQ, 1 X 10(-4) M) versus vehicle ethyl alcohol (ETOH). The pulmonary pressor response to angiotensin II (Ang II, 0.25 micrograms) injections alternated with 6-min periods of hypoxic ventilation (3% O2, 5% CO2) was measured before and after the administration of saline, inhibitors, or vehicles. The administration of the EDRF inhibitors ETYA, NDGA, and HQ resulted in a marked accentuation of the hypoxic pressor response that was not seen in the controls (P less than 0.05). In separate experiments, lungs precontracted with norepinephrine (1 X 10(-6) M) were pretreated with edrophonium (1 X 10(-4) M) and then observed for endothelium-dependent vasodilator responses to acetylcholine at increasing doses (1 X 10(-7)-1 X 10(-4) M). Administration of ETYA, NDGA, or HQ abrogated the observed vasodilatation to acetylcholine, which was not seen with vehicles alone (P less than 0.01). These studies suggest an important role for the endothelium in pulmonary vascular responsiveness to alveolar hypoxia through possible release of a relaxing factor(s) that attenuates the degree of pulmonary arterial constriction.

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