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Celecoxib but not the combination of celecoxib+atorvastatin prevents the development of monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in the rat

Zo Rakotoniaina, Pascal Guerard, Frédéric Lirussi, Luc Rochette, Monique Dumas, Françoise Goirand, Marc Bardou
Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology 2008, 378 (3): 241-51
18542928
The present study aimed to assess the effects of a COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, atorvastatin, and the association of both on monocrotaline (MC)-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Celecoxib (Cib, 25 mg kg(-1) day(-1)), atorvastatin (AS, 10 mg kg(-1) day(-1)) or vehicle, were given orally, separately or in combination, for 26 days to Wistar male rats injected or not with MC (60 mg/kg intraperitoneally). At 4 weeks, MC-injected rats developed a severe pulmonary hypertension, with an increase in lung to body weight ratio (L/BW), right ventricular pressure (RVP in mmHg, 31 +/- 3 and 14 +/- 1 for MC and control groups, respectively, P < 0.05) and right ventricle/left ventricle + septum weight ratio (RV/LV+S) associated with a decrease in acetylcholine- and sodium-nitroprusside-induced pulmonary artery vasodilation in vitro. Hypertensive pulmonary arteries exhibited an increase in wall thickness (wall thickness to external diameter ratio, 0.42 +/- 0.01 vs 0.24 +/- 0.01 for MC and control groups, respectively, P < 0.001). Whole lung eNOS expression was decreased, and an increase in apoptosis, evaluated by cleaved caspase-3 expression, was evidenced by Western blotting. Cib (RVP in mmHg, 19 +/- 3 and 31 +/- 3 for MC+Cib and MC groups, respectively, P < 0.05), but neither AS nor AS+Cib significantly limited the development of pulmonary hypertension (P < 0.05), although the three treatments exhibited protective effects against MC-induced lung and right ventricle hypertrophy evaluated by L/BW and RV/(LV+S) ratios, respectively (P < 0.05). AS, Cib and AS+Cib treatments reduced MC-induced thickening of small intrapulmonary artery wall (0.42 +/- 0.01, 0.24 +/- 0.01, 0.26 +/- 0.01 and 0.28 +/- 0.01 for MC, MC+AS, MC+Cib and MC+AS+Cib groups, respectively, P < 0.001). In control rats, Cib reduced acetylcholine-induced pulmonary artery vasorelaxation. Treatment of MC rats by either Cib or AS did not modify acetylcholine-induced pulmonary artery relaxation, whereas combination of both drugs significantly worsened it (P < 0.05). AS, but neither Cib nor the combination of both, prevented apoptosis (AS, P < 0.05) and partially restored eNOS expression (AS, P < 0.05) in whole lung of MC rats. In conclusion, celecoxib exhibited beneficial effects against the development of monocrotaline-induced pulmonary artery hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy. These beneficial effects of celecoxib might be, at least partly, explained by its effects on pulmonary artery thickening and pulmonary hypertrophy, even if it did not show any effect on pulmonary artery vasorelaxation and whole lung eNOS expression or apoptosis. The combination of celecoxib and atorvastatin was unable to prevent MC-induced pulmonary hypertension, decreased endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and showed a trend toward an increased in RVP that deserves further studies.

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