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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Jun 15;302(12):H2518-27. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01140.2011. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Chronic hypoxia induces right heart failure in caveolin-1-/- mice.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Caveolin-1 (Cav-1)-/- mice develop mild pulmonary hypertension as they age. In this study, we sought to determine the effect of chronic hypoxia, an established model of pulmonary hypertension, on young Cav-1-/- mice with no measurable signs of pulmonary hypertension. Exposure of Cav-1-/- mice to chronic hypoxia resulted in an initial rise in right ventricular (RV) systolic pressure (RVSP) similar to wild-type (WT) mice. By three weeks RVSP decreased in the Cav-1-/- mice, whereas it was maintained in WT mice. The drop in RVSP in Cav-1-/- mice was accompanied by decreased cardiac output, increased RV hypertrophy, RV interstitial fibrosis, decreased RV sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase 2a mRNA and decreased RV function compared with WT mice. Importantly, minimal differences were noted in pulmonary vascular remodeling between WT and Cav-1-/- mice, and left ventricular function was normal in hypoxic Cav-1-/- mice. Mechanistically, increased endothelial nitric oxide synthase uncoupling and increased tyrosine nitration of protein kinase G were detected in the RV of Cav-1-/- mice. These hemodynamic, histological, and molecular changes were prevented in Cav-1-/- mice expressing an endothelial-specific Cav-1 transgene or by nitric oxide synthase inhibition. These data suggest that, in Cav-1-/- mice, increased oxidative/nitrosative stress due to endothelial nitric oxide synthase uncoupling modifies the response of the RV to pressure overload, accelerating the deterioration of RV function.

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