The peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) plays an unknown role in the pathogenesis and progression of two important neonatal pulmonary disorders, chronic lung disease (CLD) of prematurity and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Inhaled nitric oxide (INO) is a proven vasodilator therapy in PPHN and is an experimental therapy in CLD. We sought to determine the effects, if any, of the interaction of inhaled INO with ET-1 in these two separate disorders. Infants (n = 21) with PPHN (mean gestation age, 39.4 weeks; mean birth weight, 3470g) were treated with INO. All infants were <72h of age at baseline. Plasma obtained at baseline and after 24h of INO therapy was assessed for ET-1. The change in ET-1 levels with INO was inversely correlated with change in arterial partial pressure of O2 (r =-0.71, P = 0.0003). A separate group of 33 patients with CLD (mean gestational age, 27 weeks; mean birth weight, 740g; mean age, 19 days) had tracheal aspirate levels of ET-1 obtained before, during, and after 7 days' administration of INO. Values were normalized by soluble secretory component of IgA. Tracheal aspirate ET-1 levels were detectable before INO therapy. There was no significant change during or after treatment with INO. There was not a significant correlation between baseline fractional inspired O2 and ET-1 levels. There was a non-significant trend in the correlation between the change in ET-1 and the change in interleukin-8 levels in tracheal aspirate. This report confirms the presence of ET-1 in tracheal aspirate of premature infants who are developing CLD and reaffirms the presence of ET-1 in plasma of infants with PPHN. Short-term INO therapy was associated with a decrease in plasma ET-1 levels in PPHN, but did not affect tracheal aspirate ET-1 in CLD. Given the vasconstrictive, profibrotic, and proinflammatory properties of ET-1, specific ET-1 receptor antagonists could be considered as candidates for trials as adjunct therapy in either or both of these disorders.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.