Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) remains the most common and serious chronic lung disease of premature infants. Severe BPD complicated with pulmonary hypertension (PH) increases the mortality of these infants. Riociguat is an allosteric soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator and is approved by the FDA for treating PH in adults. However, it has not been approved for use in neonates due to concern for adverse effects on long bone growth. To address this concern we investigated if administration of riociguat is beneficial in preventing hyperoxia-induced lung injury and PH without side effects on long bone growth in newborn rats. Newborn rats were randomized to normoxia (21% O2) or hyperoxia (85% O2) exposure groups within 24 hours of birth, and received riociguat or placebo by once daily intraperitoneal injections during continuous normoxia or hyperoxia exposure for 9 days. In the hyperoxia control group, radial alveolar count, mean linear intercept and vascular density were significantly decreased, the pathological hallmarks of BPD, and these were accompanied by an increased inflammatory response. There was also significantly elevated vascular muscularization of peripheral pulmonary vessels, right ventricular systolic pressure and right ventricular hypertrophy indicating PH. However, administration of riociguat significantly decreased lung inflammation, improved alveolar and vascular development, and decreased PH during hyperoxia by inducing cGMP production. Additionally, riociguat did not affect long bone growth or structure. These data indicate that riociguat is beneficial in preventing hyperoxia-induced lung injury and PH without affecting long bone growth and structure and hence, suggests riociguat may be a potential novel agent for preventing BPD and PH in neonates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)