Hepatopulmonary syndrome and portopulmonary hypertension are common complications of liver disorders. This study aimed to determine roles of ET-B receptors and endothelial-derived NO synthase in the regulation of pulmonary hemodynamic in cirrhotic rats.
Male Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into the Sham and common bile duct ligation (CBDL) groups. After 28 days, animals were anesthetized, and the right ventricle, femoral artery, and vein cannulated. Then, intravenous injection of BQ-788 (a selective ET-B receptor antagonist) and L-NAME (eNOS inhibitor) were performed sequentially.
After the first injection of BQ-788, the right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) and mean arterial systemic pressure increased only in the Sham group. L-NAME increased RVSP in the Sham and CBDL groups, whereas mean arterial systemic pressure elevated only in the Sham group significantly. Reinjection of BQ-788 increased RVSP in the Sham group, whereas it decreased RVSP in the CBDL group. Both plasma NO metabolites and lung endothelin-1 increased in the CBDL group.
ET-B receptors on the endothelial cells play roles in the regulation of pulmonary and systemic vascular tone in normal condition through the NO-mediated pathway, whereas ET-B receptors on the smooth muscle cells have a role in the pulmonary vascular tone in liver cirrhosis.