Alterations in elastin and collagen related to the mechanism of progressive pulmonary venous obstruction in a piglet model. A hemodynamic, ultrastructural, and biochemical study.
We created an animal model to understand better the pathogenesis and underlying mechanism of progressive central pulmonary venous (PV) obstruction, a condition not amenable to current therapy. Twenty piglets underwent banding of their PVs, 18 had a sham operation, and 12 were nonoperated controls. After 1, 3, and 6 weeks hemodynamic data were obtained and correlated with ventricular weights, PV and pulmonary artery (PA) distensibilities (at 1 week), morphometric structural and ultrastructural analyses, and biochemical assessment of elastin determined gravimetrically (and by desmosine level at 1 week), collagen, and elastase activity. At 1 week, PV banding was associated with increased PV compliance (p less than 0.05). At 3 weeks, an increased PA pressure (Ppa) (p less than 0.05) was observed, unaccompanied by a rise in PV pressure (Pcw). In the PV, however, there was breakdown of the internal elastic lamina with apparent migration of smooth muscle cells from media to subendothelium. At 6 weeks, a rise in Pcw (p less than 0.01), a further rise in Ppa (p less than 0.01), and right ventricular hypertrophy (p less than 0.005) were observed. We also observed mild PV intimal thickening (p less than 0.01), complete degradation of elastic laminae (p less than 0.05), and an increase in collagen assessed morphometrically (p less than 0.01). The banding procedure resulted in an overall increase in PV elastin synthesis and in the proportion of elastin determined gravimetrically (p less than 0.05 for both) but not by desmosine level, suggesting the possibility of poor cross-linking of elastin, which might account for the early increased distensibility of the PV. However, our assay could not detect an increase in elastase activity associated with either the increased distensibility or the ultrastructural changes of elastin degradation. The increased Ppa was not associated with significant PA biochemical or structural changes. We speculate that in response to distal venous obstruction, early remodeling of the PVs increases distensibility, protecting the lung from venous congestion and blunting a rise in Pcw. PA hypertension precedes the rise in Pcw, likely because of reflex vasoconstriction. The subsequent modest rise in Pcw is already associated with extensive fibrosis of the PV, suggesting a reason for unsuccessful current therapy and a need for consideration of earlier assessment and intervention.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association