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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of nitric oxide in heparin-induced attenuation of hypoxic pulmonary vascular remodeling.

Heparin and nitric oxide (NO) attenuate changes to the pulmonary vasculature caused by prolonged hypoxia. Heparin may increase NO; therefore, we hypothesized that heparin may attenuate hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling via a NO-mediated mechanism. In vivo, rats were exposed to normoxia (N) or hypoxia (H; 10% O(2)) with or without heparin (1,200 U x kg-1 x day-1) and/or the NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 20 mg x kg-1 x day-1) for 3 days or 3 wk. Heparin attenuated increases in pulmonary arterial pressure, the percentage of muscular pulmonary vessels, and their medial thickness induced by 3 wk of H. Importantly, although L-NAME alone had no effect, it prevented these effects of heparin on vascular remodeling. In H lungs, heparin increased NOS activity and cGMP levels at 3 days and 3 wk and endothelial NOS protein expression at 3 days but not at 3 wk. In vitro, heparin (10 and 100 U x kg-1 x ml-1) increased cGMP levels after 10 min and 24 h in N and anoxic (0% O2) endothelial cell-smooth muscle cell (SMC) coculture. SMC proliferation, assessed by 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation during a 3-h incubation period, was decreased by heparin under N, but not anoxic, conditions. The antiproliferative effects of heparin were not altered by L-NAME. In conclusion, the in vivo results suggest that attenuation of hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling by heparin is NO mediated. Heparin increases cGMP in vitro; however, the heparin-induced decrease in SMC proliferation in the coculture model appears to be NO independent.[1]


  1. Role of nitric oxide in heparin-induced attenuation of hypoxic pulmonary vascular remodeling. Horstman, D.J., Fischer, L.G., Kouretas, P.C., Hannan, R.L., Rich, G.F. J. Appl. Physiol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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