Enhanced NO-dependent pulmonary vasodilation limits increased vasoconstrictor sensitivity in neonatal chronic hypoxia. Academic Article uri icon


  • Augmented vasoconstrictor reactivity is thought to play an important role in the development of chronic hypoxia (CH)-induced neonatal pulmonary hypertension. However, whether this response to CH results from pulmonary endothelial dysfunction and reduced nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasodilation is not well understood. We hypothesized that neonatal CH enhances basal tone and pulmonary vasoconstrictor sensitivity by limiting NO-dependent pulmonary vasodilation. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the effects of the NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor Nω-nitro-l-arginine (l-NNA) on baseline pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and vasoconstrictor sensitivity to the thromboxane mimetic U-46619 in saline-perfused lungs (in situ) from 2-wk-old control and CH (12-day exposure, 0.5 atm) Sprague-Dawley rats. Basal tone was defined as that reversed by exogenous NO (spermine NONOate). CH neonates displayed elevated right ventricular systolic pressure (in vivo) and right ventricular hypertrophy, indicative of pulmonary hypertension. Perfused lungs from CH rats demonstrated greater baseline PVR, basal tone, and U-46619-mediated vasoconstriction compared with control rats in the absence of l-NNA. l-NNA markedly increased baseline PVR and reactivity to U-46619 in lungs from CH neonates, further augmenting vasoconstrictor sensitivity compared with control lungs. Exposure to CH also enhanced NO-dependent vasodilation to arginine vasopressin, pulmonary expression of NOS III [endothelial NOS (eNOS)], and eNOS phosphorylation at activation residue Ser1177 However, CH did not alter lung nitrotyrosine levels, a posttranslational modification reflecting [Formula: see text] scavenging of NO. We conclude that, in contrast to our hypothesis, enhanced basal tone and agonist-induced vasoconstriction after neonatal CH is limited by increased NO-dependent pulmonary vasodilation resulting from greater eNOS expression and phosphorylation at activation residue Ser1177NEW & NOTEWORTHY This research is the first to demonstrate enhanced nitric oxide-dependent vasodilation that limits increased vasoconstrictor reactivity in neonatal pulmonary hypertension. These results suggest that augmented vasoconstriction in this setting reflects changes in smooth muscle reactivity rather than a reduction in nitric oxide-dependent pulmonary vasodilation.Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.

publication date

  • October 2017