The aim of this study was to examine the role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and downstream signaling of prostanoids in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) using mice with genetically manipulated COX-2 expression. COX-2 knockdown (KD) mice, characterized by 80-90% suppression of COX-2, and wild-type (WT) control mice were treated weekly with monocrotaline (MCT) over 10 weeks. Mice were examined for cardiac hypertrophy/function and right ventricular pressure. Lung histopathological analysis was performed and various assays were carried out to examine oxidative stress, as well as gene, protein, cytokine and prostanoid expression. We found that MCT increased right ventricular systolic and pulmonary arterial pressures in comparison to saline-treated mice, with no evidence of cardiac remodeling. Gene expression of endothelin receptor A and thromboxane synthesis, regulators of vasoconstriction, were increased in MCT-treated lungs. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung sections demonstrated mild inflammation and perivascular edema but activation of inflammatory cells was not predominant under the experimental conditions. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression and indicators of oxidative stress in lungs were significantly increased, especially in COX-2 KD MCT-treated mice. Gene expression of NOX-4, but not NOX-2, two NADPH oxidase subunits crucial for superoxide generation, was induced by ~4-fold in both groups of mice by MCT. Vasodilatory and anti-aggregatory prostacyclin was reduced by ~85% only in MCT-treated COX-2 KD mice. This study suggests that increased oxidative stress-derived endothelial dysfunction, vasoconstriction and mild inflammation, exacerbated by the lack of COX-2, contribute to the pathogenesis of early stages of PH when mild hemodynamic changes are evident and not yet accompanied by vascular and cardiac remodeling. © 2011 Seta et al.
Seta, F., Rahmani, M., Turner, P. V., & Funk, C. D. (2011). Pulmonary oxidative stress is increased in cyclooxygenase-2 knockdown mice with mild pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline. PLoS ONE, 6(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023439