Neonatal pulmonary vascular disease (PVD) is increasingly recognized as a disease that complicates the cardiopulmonary adaptations after birth and predisposes to long-term cardiopulmonary disease. There is growing evidence that PVD is associated with disruptions in the nitric oxide (NO)-cGMP-phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) pathway. Examination of the functionality of different parts of this pathway is required for better understanding of the pathogenesis of neonatal PVD. For this purpose, the role of the NO-cGMP-PDE5 pathway in regulation of pulmonary vascular function was investigated in vivo, both at rest and during exercise, and in isolated pulmonary small arteries in vitro, in a neonatal swine model with hypoxia-induced PVD. Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation was impaired in piglets with hypoxia-induced PVD both in vivo at rest and in vitro. Moreover, the responsiveness to the NO-donor SNP was reduced in hypoxia-exposed piglets in vivo, while the relaxation to SNP and 8-bromo-cyclicGMP in vitro were unaltered. Finally, PDE5 inhibition-induced pulmonary vasodilatation was impaired in hypoxia-exposed piglets both in vitro and in vivo at rest. During exercise, however, the pulmonary vasodilator effect of PDE5 inhibition was significantly larger in hypoxia-exposed as compared to normoxia-exposed piglets. In conclusion, the impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in piglets with hypoxia-induced PVD was accompanied by reduced responsiveness to NO, potentially caused by altered sensitivity and/or activity of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), resulting in an impaired cGMP production. Our findings in a newborn animal model for neonatal PVD suggests that sGC stimulators/activators may be a novel treatment strategy to alleviate neonatal PVD.

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Physiological Reports
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Wijs-Meijler, D., Duncker, D., Danser, J., Reiss, I., & Merkus, D. (2018). Changes in the nitric oxide pathway of the pulmonary vasculature after exposure to hypoxia in swine model of neonatal pulmonary vascular disease. Physiological Reports, 6(20). doi:10.14814/phy2.13889