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Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Dec;45(12):2405-10.

Pulmonary expression of iNOS and HO-1 protein is upregulated in a rat model of prehepatic portal hypertension.

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Department of Surgery, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


Portal hypertension is associated with a wide range of pulmonary pathophysiologies, ranging from portopulmonary hypertension to hepatopulmonary syndrome. Although the clinical and pathological features of pulmonary dysfunction in this setting have been extensively characterized, the underlying biology is not well understood. Specifically, the role of mediators that regulate mesenteric vascular hemodynamics in portal hypertension, such as nitric oxide and endothelin, have not been studied in the lung. Using a rat model of prehepatic portal hypertension with preserved hepatic function, we examined pulmonary elaboration of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS), inducible NOS, heme oxygenase- 1 (HO-1), heme oxygenase-2 (HO-2), endothelin-1 mRNA, and protein. In comparison to sham controls, portal hypertensive animals exhibited significantly increased pulmonary iNOS and HO-1 mRNA and protein. Cyclic GMP was significantly increased in portal hypertensive lung tissue, suggesting activation of guanylyl cyclase by the endproducts of iNOS and/or HO-1 activity. Using immunohistochemical analysis, iNOS expression was localized to the vascular endothelium, while HO-1 localized to bronchiolar epithelium and macrophages. These results suggest that production of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide may contribute to the pulmonary pathology associated with portal hypertension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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