Capsaicin pretreatment attenuates chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension

Y. L. Lai*, C. F. Chen, C. T. Chien, H. L. Shiao, A. A. Thacker, H. Q. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Capsaicin pretreatment was used to deplete tachykinins in order to study the role of tachykinins in chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Forty three young Wistar rats weighing 235 ± 4 g were randomly divided into four groups: control (n = 10); capsaicin pretreatment (n = 10); intermittent chronic hypoxia (n = 10); and capsaicin pretreatment + intermittent chronic hypoxia (n = 13). Control animals breathed room air. Rats in the capsaicin pretreatment groups were given capsaicin via subcutaneous injection over a three-day period. Hypobaric hypoxia was intermittently applied by placing animals into a hypobaric chamber with a barometric pressure of 380 Torr for two weeks. In the capsaicin pretreatment + intermittent chronic hypoxia group, rats were exposed to intermittent hypoxia for two weeks immediately after the last dose of capsaicin. Subsequently, pulmonary vascular function, as well as substance P (a tachykinin) level and neutral endopeptidase (NEP, the major degradation enzyme for tachykinins) activity in the lungs were measured. Chronic hypoxia caused significant increases in pulmonary artery pressure, right ventricle/(left ventricle + septum) weight ratio, hematocrit, and lung substance P level, as well as a significant decrease in lung NEP activity. All these chronic hypoxia-induced changes were significantly lessened by capsaicin pretreatment. Capsaicin pretreatment alone did not induce any significant alteration in vascular function. These results suggest that the chronic hypoxia causes an increase in lung tachykinin levels which, in turn, enhance the development of pulmonary hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypertension, pulmonary
  • Hypoxia, pulmonary hypertension
  • Mammals, rat
  • Mediators, substance P, tachy-kinins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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