Selective endothelin-A receptor blockade attenuates endotoxin-induced pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular dysfunction

PVRI Member Authors: Tim Lahm


Endothelin-1 is a potent mediator of sepsis-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH). The pulmonary vascular effects of selective blockade of endothelin receptor subtype A (ETAR) during endotoxemia remain unknown. We hypothesized that selective ETAR antagonism attenuates endotoxin-induced PH and improves pulmonary artery (PA) vasoreactivity. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (250–450 g) received lipopolysaccharide (LPS; Salmonella typhimurium; 20 mg/kg intraperitoneally) or vehicle 6 hours before hemodynamic assessment and tissue harvest. The selective ETAR antagonist sitaxsentan (10 or 20 mg/kg) or vehicle was injected intravenously 3 hours after receipt of LPS. Right ventricular systolic pressure, mean arterial pressure (MAP), cardiac output (CO), oxygenation (P/F ratio), and serum bicarbonate were measured. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell differential and lung wet-to-dry ratios were obtained. Endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasorelaxations were determined in isolated PA rings. PA interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) messenger RNA (mRNA) were measured. LPS caused PH, decreased MAP, CO, and serum bicarbonate, and increased PA IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and iNOS mRNA. Sitaxsentan attenuated sepsis-induced PH and increased MAP. The P/F ratio, CO, serum bicarbonate, and BAL neutrophilia were not affected by sitaxsentan. In isolated PA rings, while not affecting phenylephrine-induced vasocontraction or endothelium-dependent relaxation, sitaxsentan dose-dependently attenuated LPS-induced alterations in endothelium-independent relaxation. PA cytokine mRNA levels were not significantly attenuated by ETAR blockade. We conclude that ETAR blockade attenuates endotoxin-induced alterations in systemic and PA pressures without negatively affecting oxygenation. This protective effect appears to be mediated not by attenuation of sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction, acidosis, or alveolar inflammation but rather by improved endothelium-independent vasorelaxation.

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Pulmonary Endothelium
Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling
Right Ventricle: Structure, Function and Dysfunction
Vasoreactivity: Vasoconstriction and Vasodilatation


Brent M. Toney, Amanda J. Fisher, Marjorie Albrecht, Angelia D. Lockett, Robert G. Presson, Irina Petrache, Tim Lahm

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 4: No 2 cover image

May 2014

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 4: No 2

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