Combination of Erythropoietin and Sildenafil Can Effectively Attenuate Hypoxia-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Mice

PVRI Member Authors: Max Gassmann


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an incurable disease that often leads to right ventricular hypertrophy and right heart failure. This study investigated single versus combined therapy with sildenafil and erythropoietin on hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. Mice were randomized into 5 groups and exposed to either hypoxia (10% oxygen) or normoxia for a total of 5 weeks. Hypoxic mice were treated with saline solution, erythropoietin (500 IU/kg 3 times weekly), sildenafil (10 mg/kg daily), or a combination of the two drugs for the last 2 weeks of hypoxic exposure. We measured right ventricular pressures using right heart catheterization, and the ventilatory response to hypoxia was recorded via whole-body plethysmography. Histological analyses were performed to elucidate changes in pulmonary morphology and appearance of right heart hypertrophy. Plasma levels of cardiotrophin-1 and atrial natriuretic peptide were quantified. Treatment with either erythropoietin or sildenafil alone lowered the hypoxia-induced increase of pulmonary pressure and reduced pulmonary edema formation, pulmonary vascular remodeling, and right ventricular hypertrophy. Notably, the combination of the two drugs had the most prominent effect. Changes in cardiotrophin-1 and atrial natriuretic protein levels confirmed these observations. The combination treatment with erythropoietin and sildenafil demonstrated an attenuation of the development of hypoxia-induced PH in mice that was superior to that observed for either drug when given alone.

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Animal Models
Hemodynamics and Hypertension and Hypertrophy
Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling


Victor Samillan, Thomas Haider, Johannes Vogel, Caroline Leuenberger, Matthias Brock, Colin Schwarzwald, Max Gassmann, Louise Østergaard

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 3: No 4 cover image

December 2013

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 3: No 4

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