Hemodynamic Characterization of Rodent Models of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Zhiyuan Ma, Lan Mao, Sudarshan Rajagopal
Journal of Visualized Experiments2016
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease of the pulmonary vasculature characterized by endothelial cell apoptosis, smooth muscle proliferation and obliteration of pulmonary arterioles. This in turn results in right ventricular (RV) failure, with significant morbidity and mortality. Rodent models of PAH, in the mouse and the rat, are important for understanding the pathophysiology underlying this rare disease. Notably, different models of PAH may be associated with different degrees of pulmonary hypertension, RV hypertrophy and RV failure. Therefore, a complete hemodynamic characterization of mice and rats with PAH is critical in determining the effects of drugs or genetic modifications on the disease. Here we demonstrate standard procedures for assessment of right ventricular function and hemodynamics in both rat and mouse PAH models. Echocardiography is useful in determining RV function in rats, although obtaining standard views of the right ventricle is challenging in the awake mouse. Access for right heart catheterization is obtained by the internal jugular vein in closed-chest mice and rats. Pressures can be measured using polyethylene tubing with a fluid pressure transducer or a miniature micromanometer pressure catheter. Pressure-volume loop analysis can be performed in the open chest. After obtaining hemodynamics, the rodent is euthanized. The heart can be dissected to separate the RV free wall from the left ventricle (LV) and septum, allowing an assessment of RV hypertrophy using the Fulton index (RV/(LV+S)). Then samples can be harvested from the heart, lungs and other tissues as needed.

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