Hypoxia stimulates prostacyclin synthesis in newborn pulmonary artery endothelium by increasing cyclooxygenase-1 protein

Amy J. North, Timothy S. Brannon, Lieselotte B. Wells, William B. Campbell, Philip W. Shaul

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43 Scopus citations


In newborn lambs, pulmonary prostacyclin (PGI2) production increases acutely in response to low oxygen. We tested the hypothesis that decreased oxygenation directly stimulates PGI2 synthesis in arterial segments and cultured endothelial cells from newborn lamb intrapulmonary arteries. In segments studied at PO2 of 680 mm Hg, the synthesis of PGI2 exceeded prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by 73%. Endothelium removal lowered PGI2 by 77% and PGE2 by 66%. At low oxygen tension (PO2, 40 mm Hg), PGI2 and PGE2 synthesis rose by 96% and 102%, respectively. Similarly, in endothelial cells studied at PO2 of 680 mm Hg, the synthesis of PGI2 exceeded PGE2 by 50%, and at low oxygen tension both PGI2 and PGE2 increased (89% and 64%, respectively). Endothelial cell PGI2 synthesis maximally stimulated by bradykinin, A23187, or arachidonic acid was also increased at low PO2 by 50%, 66%, and 48%, respectively. PGE2 synthesis was similarly altered, increasing by 33%, 37%, and 41%, respectively. In contrast, lowering oxygen had minimal effect on PGI2 and PGE2 synthesis with exogenous PGH2, which is the product of cyclooxygenase. Immunoblot analyses revealed that there was a 2.6-fold greater abundance of cyclooxygenase-1 protein at PO2 of 40 versus 680 mm Hg, and the increase at lower oxygen tension was inhibited by cycloheximide. The cyclooxygenase-2 isoform was not detected. Thus, attenuated oxygenation directly stimulates PGI2 and PGE2 synthesis in intrapulmonary arterial segments and endothelial cells from newborn lambs. This process is due to enhanced cyclooxygenase activity related to increased abundance of the cyclooxygenase-1 protein, and this effect may be due to increased synthesis of the enzyme protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1994



  • cyclooxygenase
  • endothelium
  • hypoxic pulmonary hypertension
  • prostacyclin
  • prostaglandin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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