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Sustained therapeutic hypercapnia attenuates pulmonary arterial Rho-kinase activity and ameliorates chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in juvenile rats


, : Sustained therapeutic hypercapnia attenuates pulmonary arterial Rho-kinase activity and ameliorates chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in juvenile rats. American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 302(12): H2599-H2611

Sustained therapeutic hypercapnia prevents pulmonary hypertension in experimental animals, but its rescue effects on established disease have not been studied. Therapies that inhibit Rho-kinase (ROCK) and/or augment nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling can reverse or prevent progression of chronic pulmonary hypertension. Our objective in the present study was to determine whether sustained rescue treatment with inhaled CO2 (therapeutic hypercapnia) would improve structural and functional changes of chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. Spontaneously breathing pups were exposed to normoxia (21% O2) or hypoxia (13% O2) from postnatal days 1–21 with or without 7% CO2 (PaCO2 elevated by ~25 mmHg) or 1% CO2 (PaCO2 elevated by ~4 mmHg) from days 14 to 2Compared with hypoxia alone, animals exposed to hypoxia and 1% CO2 had significantly (P < .5) decreased pulmonary vascular resistance, right-ventricular systolic pressure, right-ventricular hypertrophy, and medial wall thickness of pulmonary resistance arteries as well as decreased lung phosphodiesterase (PDE) V, RhoA, and ROCK activity. Rescue treatment with 1% CO2, or treatment with a ROCK inhibitor (15 mg/kg ip Y-27632 twice daily from days 14 to 21), also increased pulmonary arterial endothelial nitric oxide synthase and lung NO content. In contrast, cGMP content and cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) activity were increased by exposure to 1% CO2, but not by ROCK inhibition with Y-27632. In vitro exposure of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells to hypercapnia suppressed serum-induced ROCK activity, which was prevented by inhibition of PKG with Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS. We conclude that sustained hypercapnia dose-dependently inhibited ROCK activity, augmented NO-cGMP-PKG signaling, and led to partial improvements in the hemodynamic and structural abnormalities of chronic hypoxic PHT in juvenile rats. Increased PKG content and activity appears to play a major upstream role in CO2-induced suppression of ROCK activity in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle.

US$19.90

PMID: 22505643

DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.01180.2011


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