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Intra-amniotic Sildenafil Treatment Modulates Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotype in the Nitrofen Model of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

By Frances C. Okolo, Guangfeng Zhang, Julie Rhodes and Douglas A. Potoka


Abstract The etiology of pulmonary vascular abnormalities in CDH is incompletely understood. Studies have demonstrated improvement in pulmonary vasculature with prenatal therapy in animal models. We hypothesize that prenatal sildenafil may attenuate defective pulmonary vascular development via modulation of vSMC phenotype from undifferentiated, proliferative phenotype to differentiated, contractile phenotype. We utilized the nitrofen model of CDH to examine the effect of IA sildenafil on pulmonary vSMC phenotype during lung development. Timed-pregnant CD-1 mice were gavage fed 25 mg nitrofen or olive oil (control) at E8.5 of gestation. Single IA injections of Sildenafil (Revatio; 10 µL of 4 mg/4 ml solution) or dextrose control were performed at E12.5. Mice were sacrificed on various gestational days for embryonic lung harvest. Markers of vSMC development of undifferentiated and differentiated phenotypes were analyzed by immunostaining and western blot. Across all time points in gestation, nitrofen-treated embryonic lungs demonstrated increased vSMC expression of NOTCH3, Hes-5, PDGFR-β, desmin and α-SMA and decreased expression of calponin and SMMHC, compared to oil controls. IA dextrose treatment had no effect on expression levels. However, IA Sildenafil treatment resulted in down-regulation of NOTCH3, Hes-5, PDGFR-β, desmin and α-SMA and upregulation of calponin and SMMHC, comparable to oil controls. In the nitrofen model, vSMC express markers consistent with more undifferentiated proliferative phenotype, resulting in hypermuscularization of intrapulmonary arterioles in CDH. A single dose of IA Sildenafil treatment early in gestation, results in sustained normalization of vSMC phenotype. Pharmacologic modulation of the vSMC phenotype at key gestational points may have therapeutic potential

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-018-34948-w
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