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Wednesday 01 March 2006

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia prevents absorption of distal air space fluid in late-gestation rat fetuses.

By: Folkesson HG, Chapin CJ, Beard LL, Ertsey R, Matthay MA, Kitterman JA.

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2006 Mar;290(3):L478-84

We hypothesized that congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) may decrease distal air space fluid absorption due to immaturity of alveolar epithelial cells from a loss of the normal epithelial Na+ transport, as assessed by amiloride and epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) and Na-K-ATPase expression, as well as failure to respond to endogenous epinephrine as assessed by propranolol. Timed-pregnant dams were gavage fed 100 mg of nitrofen at 9.5-day gestation to induce CDH in the fetuses, and distal air space fluid absorption experiments were carried out on 22-day gestation (term) fetuses. Controls were nitrofen-exposed fetuses without CDH. Absorption of distal air space fluid was measured from the increase in 131I-albumin concentration in an isosmolar, physiological solution instilled into the developing lungs. In controls, distal air space fluid absorption was rapid and mediated by beta-adrenoceptors as demonstrated by reversal to fluid secretion after propranolol. Normal lung fluid absorption was also partially inhibited by amiloride. In contrast, CDH fetuses continued to show lung fluid secretion, and this secretion was not affected by either propranolol or amiloride. CDH lungs showed a 67% reduction in alpha-ENaC and beta-ENaC expression, but no change in alpha1-Na-K-ATPase expression. These studies demonstrate: 1) CDH delays lung maturation with impaired distal air space fluid absorption secondary to inadequate Na+ uptake by the distal lung epithelium that results in fluid-filled lungs at birth with reduced capacity to establish postnatal breathing, and 2) the main stimulus to lung fluid absorption in near-term control fetuses, elevated endogenous epinephrine levels, is not functional in CDH fetuses.

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