Up-regulation of arginase II contributes to pulmonary vascular endothelial cell dysfunction during experimental pulmonary embolism

John A. Watts, Michael R. Marchick, Michael A. Gellar, Jeffrey A. Kline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Pulmonary embolism (PE) causes pulmonary hypertension by mechanical obstruction and constriction of non-obstructed vasculature. We tested if experimental PE impairs pulmonary vascular endothelium-dependent dilation via activation of arginase II. Experimental PE was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by infusing 25 μm microspheres in the right jugular vein, producing moderate pulmonary hypertension. Shams received vehicle injection. Pulmonary arterial rings were isolated after 18 h and isometric tensions were determined. Dilations were induced with acetylcholine, calcium ionophore A23187 or nitroglycerin (NTG) in pre-contracted rings (phenylephrine). Protein expression was assessed by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Arginase activity was inhibited by intravenous infusion of Nw-hydroxy-nor-l-arginine (nor-NOHA). l-Arginine supplementation was also given. Endothelium-dependent dilation responses were significantly reduced in PE vs. vehicle-treated animals (ACh: 50 ± 9% vs. 93 ± 3%; A23187: 19 ± 7% vs. 85 ± 7%, p < 0.05), while endothelium-independent dilations (NTG) were unchanged. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein content was unchanged by PE. Expression of arginase II increased 4.5-fold and immunohistochemistry revealed increased arginase II staining. Nor-NOHA treatment and l-arginine supplementation significantly improved pulmonary artery ring endothelium-dependent dilation in PE (ACh: 58 ± 6% PE, 88 ± 6% PE + nor-NOHA, 84 ± 4% PE + l-arginine). Experimental PE impairs endothelium-dependent pulmonary artery dilation, while endothelium-independent dilation remains unchanged. The data support the conclusion that up-regulation of arginase II protein expression contributes to pulmonary artery endothelial dysfunction in this model of experimental PE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arginase
  • Arginine
  • Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • Pulmonary artery
  • Vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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