INTRODUCTION: Beneficial effects of treprostinil, a stable prostacyclin analogue, were demonstrated in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Although regression of pulmonary vascular remodeling has been suggested as therapeutic mechanism, its mode of action remains unknown. METHODS: Flow-associated PAH was created in rats by injection of monocrotaline (60 mg/kg) combined with an abdominal aortocaval shunt. Subsequently, rats were treated with subcutaneous treprostinil (50 ng/kg/min, treated; n = 8) or saline (untreated; n = 9). A control group underwent sham-surgery (n = 8). Animals were sacrificed at symptoms of cardiac failure, together with their matched controls. RESULTS: Dyspnea and weight loss determined the moment of sacrifice in 8/9 untreated animals (89%) versus in one of eight treated animals (13%; log-rank test survival curves; P = 0.02). Mean pulmonary arterial pressure increased in the model (42 ± 2 mm Hg in untreated vs. 18 ± 1 in controls; P < 0.01) and decreased by 8 mm Hg after therapy (34 ± 3 mm Hg, P = 0.04 vs. untreated). No effects of treatment on right ventricular hypertrophy could be demonstrated. Quantitative morphometry of pre- and intra-acinar pulmonary arteries revealed no effects of treatment on vessel histopathology. CONCLUSIONS: Treprostinil treatment improved clinical course and ameliorated symptoms of heart failure in a model of advanced PAH. However, beneficial effects were not associated with reversed structural remodelling of the pulmonary vasculature.

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Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacology

van Albada, M., van Veghel, R., Cromme-Dijkhuis, A., Schoemaker, R., & Berger, R. (2006). Treprostinil in advanced experimental pulmonary hypertension: Beneficial outcome without reversed pulmonary vascular remodeling. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 48(5), 249–254. doi:10.1097/01.fjc.0000248229.87510.9b