The monocrotaline model of pulmonary hypertension in perspective

VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Impact Factor: 4.08). 09/2011; 302(4):L363-9. DOI: 10.1152/ajplung.00212.2011
Source: PubMed


Severe forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are characterized by various degrees of remodeling of the pulmonary arterial vessels, which increases the pulmonary vascular resistance and right ventricular afterload, thus contributing to the development of right ventricle dysfunction and failure. Recent years have seen advances in the understanding of the pathobiology of PAH; however, many important questions remain unanswered. Elucidating the pathobiology of PAH continues to be critical to design new effective therapeutic strategies, and appropriate animal models of PAH are necessary to achieve the task. Although the monocrotaline rat model of PAH has contributed to a better understanding of vascular remodeling in pulmonary hypertension, we question the validity of this model as a preclinically relevant model of severe plexogenic PAH. Here we review pertinent publications that either have been forgotten or ignored, and we reexamine the monocrotaline model in the context of human forms of PAH.

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    • "Since RV function is a critical prognostic determinant in PH [37], RV dysfunction has often been studied in animal models of PH, such as the monocrotaline rat model [10]. Although these models have proven to be valuable, they have two important disadvantages: direct therapeutic effects on the RV cannot be distinguished from (afterload-reducing) effects on the pulmonary vasculature and the used 'hits' necessary to induce PH may affect the RV [19]. The use of a pulmonary artery banding (PAB) to inflict chronic pressure load on the RV circumvents these limitations . "
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    ABSTRACT: Right ventricular failure (RVF) due to pressure load is a major cause of death in congenital heart diseases and pulmonary hypertension. The mechanisms of RVF are unknown. We used an experimental approach based upon clinical signs of RVF to delineate functional and biological processes associated with RVF. and Results Wistar rats were subjected to a pulmonary artery banding (PAB n=12) or sham surgery (CON, n=7). After 52±5days, 5/12 PAB rats developed clinical symptoms of RVF (inactivity, ruffled fur, dyspnea, ascites) necessitating termination (PAB+CF). We compared these to PAB rats with RVF without clinical symptoms (PAB-). PAB resulted in reduced cardiac output, RV stroke volume, TAPSE, and increased end diastolic pressure (all p<0.05 vs. CON) in all rats, but PAB+CF rats were significantly more affected than PAB-, despite similar pressure load (p=ns). Pressure-volume analysis showed enhanced contractility (end systolic elastance) in PAB- and PAB+CF, but diastolic function (end diastolic elastance, end diastolic pressure) deteriorated especially in PAB+CF. In PAB+CF capillary density was lower than in PAB-. Gene-array analysis revealed downregulation of both fatty acid oxidation and carbohydrate metabolism in PAB+CF. Chronic PAB led to different degrees of RVF, with half of the rats developing severe clinical symptoms of RVF, associated with progressive deterioration of diastolic function, hypoxia-prone myocardium, increased response to oxidative stress and suppressed myocardial metabolism. This model represents clinical RVF and allows for unraveling of mechanisms involved in the progression from RV adaptation to RV failure and the effect of intervention on these mechanisms. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 12/2014; 79. DOI:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2014.11.024 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    • "In a simple and widely accepted animal PH model, following two weeks of a single subcutaneous injection of MCT, rapid induction of severe pulmonary vascular disease consisting of pulmonary vascular remodeling and elevated pulmonary pressure can be observed with morphology similar to that observed in the human disease [14], [15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PH) is associated with high mortality due to right ventricular failure and hypoxia, therefore to understand the mechanism by which pulmonary vascular remodeling initiates these processes is very important. We used a well-characterized monocrotaline (MCT)-induced rat PH model, and analyzed lung morphology, expression of cytokines, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt (PI-3k-Akt) pathway and nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation in order to elucidate the mechanisms by which sildenafil's protective effect in PH is exerted. Besides its protective effect on lung morphology, sildenafil suppressed multiple cytokines involved in neutrophil and mononuclear cells recruitment including cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC)-1, CINC-2α/β, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, interleukin (IL)-1α, lipopolysaccharide induced CXC chemokine (LIX), monokine induced by gamma interferon (MIG), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, and MIP-3α. NF-κB activation and phosphorylation were also attenuated by sildenafil. Furthermore, sildenafil reduced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 and p38 MAPK activation while enhanced activation of the cytoprotective Akt pathway in PH. These data suggest a beneficial effect of sildenafil on inflammatory and kinase signaling mechanisms that substantially contribute to its protective effects, and may have potential implications in designing future therapeutic strategies in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104890. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104890 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "We choose the MCT-induced PH model for its technical simplicity and reproducibility. Although criticized by some authors, MCT remains a great model regarding inflammation process in PH [31]. It is noteworthy that other models of PH have been developed: Sugen + hypoxia- and MCT + pneumonectomy-induced PH. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The outcome of patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are predominantly determined by the response of the right ventricle to the increase afterload secondary to high vascular pulmonary resistance. However, little is known about the effects of the current available or experimental PAH treatments on the heart. Recently, inflammation has been implicated in the pathophysiology of PAH. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a well-known safe anti-oxidant drug, has immuno-modulatory and cardioprotective properties. We therefore hypothesized that NAC could reduce the severity of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in rats exposed to monocrotaline (MCT), lowering inflammation and preserving pulmonary vascular system and right heart function. Methods Saline-treated control, MCT-exposed, MCT-exposed and NAC treated rats (day 14–28) were evaluated at day 28 following MCT for hemodynamic parameters (right ventricular systolic pressure, mean pulmonary arterial pressure and cardiac output), right ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary vascular morphometry, lung inflammatory cells immunohistochemistry (monocyte/macrophages and dendritic cells), IL-6 expression, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis. Results The treatment with NAC significantly decreased pulmonary vascular remodeling, lung inflammation, and improved total pulmonary resistance (from 0.71 ± 0.05 for MCT group to 0.50 ± 0.06 for MCT + NAC group, p < 0.05). Right ventricular function was also improved with NAC treatment associated with a significant decrease in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy (625 ± 69 vs. 439 ± 21 μm2 for MCT and MCT + NAC group respectively, p < 0.001) and heart fibrosis (14.1 ± 0.8 vs. 8.8 ± 0.1% for MCT and MCT + NAC group respectively, p < 0.001). Conclusions Through its immuno-modulatory and cardioprotective properties, NAC has beneficial effect on pulmonary vascular and right heart function in experimental PH.
    Respiratory Research 06/2014; 15(1):65. DOI:10.1186/1465-9921-15-65 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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