Ligation of the ductus arteriosus in utero produces fetal and neonatal pulmonary hypertension and alterations in the hemodynamic responses to nitric oxide and endothelin-1 in fetal and newborn lambs. To determine whether fetal pulmonary hypertension alters the expression of the genes of the nitric oxide and endothelin-1 pathways, seven fetal lambs (123-126-d gestation) underwent ligation of the ductus arteriosus. Near-term (138-139-d gestation), total lung RNA, and protein were prepared from control and ductal ligation fetal lambs for RNase protection assays and Western blotting. Ligation of the ductus arteriosus was associated with decreased expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase mRNA and protein, and the α1 and the β1 subunits of soluble guanylate cyclase protein; and with increased expression of phosphodiesterase V mRNA. Ligation of the ductus arteriosus was also associated with increased expression of preproendothelin-1 mRNA and with decreased expression of endothelin B receptor (ET(B)) mRNA. These results suggest that there is coordinated regulation of genes of the nitric oxide pathway, which would decrease nitric oxide and cGMP concentration, thereby decreasing pulmonary vasodilator activity. There is also coordinated regulation of genes of the endothelin-1 pathway, which would increase endothelin-1 concentration and limit ET(B) receptor activation, thereby increasing pulmonary vasoconstrictor activity. These alterations in gene expression would increase fetal pulmonary vascular resistance, contributing to the development of pulmonary hypertension after birth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health