Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is one of the most common congenital cardiovascular defects in children. The Brown-Norway (BN) inbred rat presents a higher frequency of PDA. A previous study reported that 2 different quantitative trait loci on chromosomes 8 and 9 were significantly linked to PDA in this strain. Nevertheless, the genetic or molecular mechanisms underlying PDA phenotypes in BN rats have not been fully investigated yet.
Ductus arteriosus (DA) closure follows constriction and remodeling of the entire vessel wall. Patent ductus arteriosus occurs when the DA does not close after birth, and this condition is currently treated using cyclooxygenase inhibitors. However, the efficacy of cyclooxygenase inhibitors is often limited. Our previous study demonstrated that low-dose thromboxane A2 receptor (TP) stimulation constricted the DA with minimal adverse effects in rat neonates. However, its effect on DA remodeling remains unknown. In this study, we focused on the impact of the exogenous TP stimulation on the DA remodeling, especially intimal thickening. Using DA explants from rat fetuses at embryonic day 19 as a ex vivo model and primary cultured rat DA smooth muscle cells from embryonic day 21 as a in vitro model, we evaluated the effect of TP stimulation on the DA remodeling. The selective TP agonists U46619 and I-BOP promoted neointima formation in the ex vivo DA explants, and TP stimulation increased DA SMC migration in a dose-dependent manner. Both effects were inhibited by the selective TP antagonist SQ29548 or the siRNA against TP. TP stimulation also increased DA SMC proliferation in the presence of 10% fetal bovine serum. LC/MS/MS analysis revealed that TP stimulation increased secretion of several extracellular matrix proteins that may contribute to an increase in neointima formation. In conclusion, we uncovered that exogenous administration of TP agonist promotes neointima formation through the induction of migration and proliferation of DA SMC, which could contribute to DA closure and also to its vasoconstrictive action.
Endothelial cells (ECs) lining the blood vessels serve a variety of functions and play a central role in the homeostasis of the circulatory system. Since the ductus arteriosus (DA) has different arterial characteristics from its connecting vessels, we hypothesized that ECs of the DA exhibited a unique gene profile involved in the regulation of DA-specific morphology and function. Using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter, we isolated ECs from pooled tissues from the DA or the descending aorta of Wistar rat fetuses at full-term of gestation (F group) or neonates 30 minutes after birth (N group). Using anti-CD31 and anti-CD45 antibodies as cell surface markers for ECs and hematopoietic derived cells, respectively, cDNAs from the CD31-positive and CD45-negative cells were hybridized to the Affymetrix GeneChip® Rat Gene 1.0 ST Array. Among 26,469 gene-level probe sets, 82 genes in the F group and 81 genes in the N group were expressed at higher levels in DA ECs than in aortic ECs (p<0.05, fold change>2.0). In addition to well-known endothelium-enriched genes such as Tgfb2 and Vegfa, novel DA endothelium-dominant genes including Slc38a1, Capn6, and Lrat were discovered. Enrichment analysis using GeneGo MetaCore software showed that DA endothelium-related biological processes were involved in morphogenesis and development. We identified many overlapping genes in each process including neural crest-related genes (Hoxa1, Hoxa4, and Hand2, etc) and the second heart field-related genes (Tbx1, Isl1, and Fgf10, etc). Moreover, we found that regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, cell adhesion, and retinol metabolism are the active pathways involved in the network via potential interactions with many of the identified genes to form DA-specific endothelia. In conclusion, the present study uncovered several significant differences of the transcriptional profile between the DA and aortic ECs. Newly identified DA endothelium-dominant genes may play an important role in DA-specific functional and morphologic characteristics.
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