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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Jun;159(6):1925-32.

Prostacyclin synthase expression is decreased in lungs from patients with severe pulmonary hypertension.

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Departments of Pathology, Medicine (Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine), Pulmonary Hypertension Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.


Prostacyclin is a powerful vasodilator and inhibits platelet adhesion and cell growth. We hypothesized that a decrease in expression of the critical enzyme PGI2 synthase (PGI2-S) in the lung may represent an important manifestation of pulmonary endothelial dysfunction in severe pulmonary hypertension (PH). Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis were used to assess lung PGI2-S protein expression, and in situ hybridization was used to assess PGI2-S mRNA expression. In the normal pulmonary circulation (n = 7), PGI2-S was expressed in 48% of small, 67% of medium, and 76% of large pulmonary arteries as assessed by immunohistochemistry. PPH (n = 12), cirrhosis-associated (n = 4) and HIV-associated PH (n = 2) lungs exhibited a marked reduction in PGI2-S expression, involving all size ranges of pulmonary arteries. Vessels with concentric lesions showed complete lack of PGI2-S expression. Congenital heart (n = 4) and CREST (n = 2) cases exhibited a more variable immunohistological pattern of PGI2-S expression. These results were complemented by in situ hybridization and Western blots of representative lung samples. We conclude that the different sizes of the pulmonary arteries express PGI2-S differently and that the loss of expression of PGI2-S represents one of the phenotypic alterations present in the pulmonary endothelial cells in severe PH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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