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Effect of L-Arginine on Pulmonary Artery Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis in Rats with Hypoxic Pulmonary Vascular Structural Remodeling

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This study investigated the effect of L-arginine (L-Arg) on the apoptosis of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) in rats with hypoxic pulmonary vascular structural remodeling, and its mechanisms. Seventeen Wistar rats were randomly divided into a control group (n= 5), a hypoxia group (n= 7), and a hypoxia+L-Arg group (n= 5). The morphologic changes of lung tissues were observed under optical microscope. Using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphatebiotin nick end labeling assay, the apoptosis of PASMC was examined. Fas expression in PASMC was examined using immunohistochemistry. The results showed that the percentage of muscularized artery in small pulmonary vessels, and the relative medial thickness and relative medial area of the small and median pulmonary muscularized arteries in the hypoxic group were all significantly increased. Pulmonary vascular structural remodeling developed after hypoxia. Apoptotic smooth muscle cells of the small and median pulmonary arteries in the hypoxia group were significantly less than those in the control group. After 14 d of hypoxia, Fas expression by smooth muscle cells of median and small pulmonary arteries was significantly inhibited. L-Arg significantly inhibited hypoxic pulmonary vascular structural remodeling in association with an augmentation of apoptosis of smooth muscle cells as well as Fas expression in PASMC. These results showed that L-Arg could play an important role in attenuating hypoxic pulmonary vascular structural remodeling by upregulating Fas expression in PASMC, thus promoting the apoptosis of PASMC.

Edited by

Huang-Tian YANG
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Keywords: apoptosis; arginine; hypoxia; pulmonary artery

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatrics, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing 100034, China 2: Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing100034, China

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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