The detrimental role of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the pulmonary edema caused by hypercalcemia in conscious rats and isolated lungs

Hsing I. Chen, Diana Yuwung Yeh, Shang Jyh Kao

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We aim to test the hypothesis that hypercalcemia produces pulmonary edema (PE) and to elucidate the mechanism. Experimentations were carried out in conscious rats and isolated perfused rat lungs. We evaluated PE by lung weight changes, protein concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage, dye leakage, and microvascular permeability. Plasma nitrate/nitrite, methyl guanidine (MG), proinflammatory cytokines, procalcitonin levels, and histopathological examinations were evaluated. Immunochemical staining and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to detect inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and endothelial NOS (eNOS) in the lungs. Hypercalcemia was produced in the conscious rat and isolated perfused lungs. Calcitonin and L-N6 (1-iminoethyl)-lysine (L-Nil) were administered before hypercalcemia to observe their effects. Hypercalcemia caused severe PE in rats. Pathological and immunochemical examinations revealed hemorrhagic edema with iNOS activity in the alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells. RT-PCR showed an increase in iNOS mRNA expression. Hypercalcemia increased nitrate/nitrite, MG, proinflammatory cytokines and procalcitonin levels. Pretreatment with calcitonin or L-Nil prevented these changes. In conclusion, hypercalcemia caused PE in conscious rats and isolated perfused rat lungs. The increases in nitrate/nitrite, free radicals, proinflammatory cytokines, procalcitonin and iNOS activity suggest that hypercalcemia induces a sepsis-like syndrome. The effect of hypercalcemia on the lung may involve iNOS and NO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008



  • Alveolar hemorrhage
  • Autonomic functions
  • Inducible nitric oxide
  • Proinflammatory cytokines
  • Pulmonary microvascular permeability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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