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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 May;26(5):610-6.

Estrogen acutely activates prostacyclin synthesis in ovine fetal pulmonary artery endothelium.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas 75390-9063, USA.


Prostacyclin (PGI(2)) is a key mediator of pulmonary vasodilation during perinatal cardiopulmonary transition, at a time when fetal plasma estrogen levels are rising. We have previously shown that estradiol-17beta (E(2)) rapidly stimulates nitric oxide production by ovine fetal pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAEC), and that this occurs through nongenomic mechanisms which are calcium- and tyrosine kinase-mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-dependent. In the present study, we determined if E(2) acutely activates PGI(2) production in PAEC. E(2) (10(-8) M for 15 min) caused a 52% increase in PGI(2), the threshold concentration was 10(-10) M E(2), the effect occurred within 5 min, and it was not related to changes in cyclooxygenase type 1 (COX-1) or COX-2 abundance. Estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and ER beta proteins and mRNAs were found to be constitutively expressed in PAEC, and PGI(2) stimulation with E(2) was fully blocked by both ER antagonism with ICI 182,780, which is not selective for either ER isoform, and the ER beta-specific antagonist RR-tetrahydrochrysene. The rapid response to E(2) was also inhibited by calcium chelation, whereas genistein- or PD98059-induced inhibition of tyrosine kinase and MAP kinase kinase, respectively, had no effect. Thus, E(2) causes rapid stimulation of PGI(2) synthesis in fetal PAEC, this process is mediated by ER beta, and it is calcium-dependent and tyrosine kinase-MAP kinase-independent. These mechanisms may play a role in pulmonary vasodilation in the perinatal period.

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