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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2005 Nov;289(5):L798-806. Epub 2005 Jun 17.

Pulmonary vascular effects of nitric oxide-cGMP augmentation in a model of chronic pulmonary hypertension in fetal and neonatal sheep.

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Pediatric Heart Lung Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA.


Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is partly due to impaired nitric oxide (NO)-cGMP signaling. BAY 41-2272 is a novel direct activator of soluble guanylate cyclase, but whether this drug may be an effective therapy for PPHN is unknown. We hypothesized that BAY 41-2272 would cause pulmonary vasodilation in a model of severe PPHN. To test this hypothesis, we compared the hemodynamic response of BAY 41-2272 to acetylcholine, an endothelium-dependent vasodilator, and sildenafil, a selective inhibitor of PDE5 in chronically instrumented fetal lambs at 1 and 5 days after partial ligation of the ductus arteriosus. After 9 days, we delivered the animals by cesarean section to measure their hemodynamic responses to inhaled NO (iNO), sildenafil, and BAY 41-2272 alone or combined with iNO. BAY 41-2272 caused marked pulmonary vasodilation, as characterized by a twofold increase in blood flow and a nearly 60% fall in PVR at day 1. Effectiveness of BAY 41-2272-induced pulmonary vasodilation increased during the development of pulmonary hypertension. Despite a similar effect at day 1, the pulmonary vasodilator response to BAY 41-2272 was greater than sildenafil at day 5. At birth, BAY 41-2272 dramatically reduced PVR and augmented the pulmonary vasodilation induced by iNO. We concluded that BAY 41-2272 causes potent pulmonary vasodilation in fetal and neonatal sheep with severe pulmonary hypertension. We speculate that BAY 41-2272 may provide a novel treatment for severe PPHN, especially in newborns with partial response to iNO therapy.

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