The role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced 3 different nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms in lung development and injury in the newborn (NB) lung are not known. We hypothesized that VEGF-induced specific NOS pathways are critical regulators of lung development and injury.
We studied NB wild type (WT), lung epithelial cell-targeted VEGF165 doxycycline-inducible overexpressing transgenic (VEGFTG), VEGFTG treated with a NOS1 inhibitor (L-NIO), VEGFTG x NOS2-/- and VEGFTG x NOS3+/- mice in room air (RA) for 7 postnatal (PN) days. Lung morphometry (chord length), vascular markers (Ang1, Ang2, Notch2, vWF, CD31 and VE-cadherin), cell proliferation (Ki67), vascular permeability, injury and oxidative stress markers (hemosiderin, nitrotyrosine and 8-OHdG) were evaluated.
VEGF overexpression in RA led to increased chord length and vascular markers at PN7, which were significantly decreased to control values in VEGFTG x NOS2-/- and VEGFTG x NOS3+/- lungs. However, we found no noticeable effect on chord length and vascular markers in the VEGFTG/NOS1 inhibited group. In the NB VEGFTG mouse model, we found VEGF-induced vascular permeability in the NB murine lung was partially dependent on NOS2 and NOS3-signaling pathways. In addition, the inhibition of NOS2 and NOS3 resulted in a significant decrease in VEGF-induced hemosiderin, nitrotyrosine-and 8-OHdG positive cells at PN7. NOS1 inhibition had no significant effect.
Our data showed that the complete absence of NOS2 and partial deficiency of NOS3 confers protection against VEGF-induced pathologic lung vascular and alveolar developmental changes, as well as injury markers. Inhibition of NOS1 does not have any modulating role on VEGF-induced changes in the NB lung. Overall, our data suggests that there is a significant differential regulation in the NOS-mediated effects of VEGF overexpression in the developing mouse lung.