Inhaled nitric oxide attenuates pulmonary hypertension and improves lung growth in infant rats after neonatal treatment with a VEGF receptor inhibitor

Jen Ruey Tang, Neil E. Markham, Yuh-Jyh Lin, Ivan F. McMurtry, Anne Maxey, John P. Kinsella, Steven H. Abman

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VEGF plays a critical role during lung development and is decreased in human infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Inhibition of VEGF receptors in the newborn rat decreases vascular growth and alveolarization and causes pulmonary hypertension (PH). Nitric oxide (NO) is a downstream mediator of VEGF, but whether the effects of impaired VEGF signaling are due to decreased NO production is unknown. Therefore, we sought to determine whether impaired VEGF signaling downregulates endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expression in the developing lung and whether inhaled NO (iNO) decreases PH and improves lung growth after VEGF inhibition. Newborn rats received a single dose of SU-5416 (a VEGF receptor inhibitor) or vehicle by subcutaneous injection and were killed up to 3 wk of age for assessments of right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), radial alveolar counts (RAC), lung eNOS protein, and NOx production in isolated perfused lungs (IPL). Neonatal treatment with SU-5416 increased RVH in infant rats and reduced RAC. Compared with controls, SU-5416 reduced lung eNOS protein expression by 89% at 5 days (P < 0.01). IPL studies from day 14 rats demonstrated increased baseline pulmonary artery pressure and lower perfusate NOx concentration after SU-5416 treatment. Importantly, iNO treatment prevented the increase in RVH and improved RAC after SU-5416 treatment. We conclude that treatment of neonatal rats with SU-5416 downregulates lung eNOS expression and that iNO therapy decreases PH and improves lung growth after SU-5416 treatment. We speculate that decreased NO production contributes to PH and decreases distal lung growth caused by impaired VEGF signaling.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 31-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Aug 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology

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