To assess the time course of alterations in pulmonary endothelial vasodilator functions during pathological development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), we examined changes in serotonin (5-HT) removal rates and the production of prostacyclin (PGI2) and nitric oxide (NO) in isolated rat lungs harvested at various times after single exposure to monocrotaline (MCT). We assessed the generation of vasodilator substances under conditions of both the absence and the presence of 5-HT in lungs perfused with blood-free solution. Major findings included: (i) remodeling of the pulmonary vasculature associated with RVH evident 14 days after MCT injection; (ii) the capacity for 5-HT removal was suppressed at day 1 and 7 but had been restored by day 14 after MCT exposure; (iii) basal PGI2 production in the absence of 5-HT was augmented at day 1 but had returned to control levels in lungs harvested 7 or 14 days postinjection of MCT; (iv) PGI2 production evoked by 5-HT was suppressed in MCT lungs obtained at all time points examined; (v) basal NO production was suppressed at day 1 but enhanced at day 7 and 14 in MCT lungs; (vi) NO production elicited by 5-HT stimulation in 1-day-MCT lungs was obviously suppressed while that in 7- and 14-day-MCT lungs had been restored to the control level. These findings suggest that transitional changes in endothelial functions including 5-HT removal and production of vasodilators in MCT lungs do not follow the same time course.
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