Chronic endotoxin exposure does not cause sustained structural abnormalities in the fetal sheep lungs

S.G. Kallapur, Ilias Nitsos, T.J.M. Moss, B.W. Kramer, John Newnham, M. Ikegami, A.H. Jobe

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    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Chronic early gestational chorioamnionitis is associated with development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants. A single intra-amniotic exposure to endotoxin decreased alveolarization and reduced expression of endothelial proteins in 125-day gestational age preterm lambs. We hypothesized that prolonged exposure to intra-amniotic endotoxin would cause progressive lung inflammation and inhibit alveolar and pulmonary vascular development. Endotoxin (1 mg/day) or saline was administered via an intra-amniotic osmotic pump from 80 to 108 days of gestational age (continuous pump) or by four weekly 10-mg intra-amniotic endotoxin injections starting at 100 days of gestational age (multiple dose). Lung morphometry, lung inflammation, vascular effects, and lung maturation were measured at delivery. The continuous pump lambs delivered at 100 days (similar to 70% of total endotoxin exposure) had lung inflammation, fewer saccules, and decreased endothelial proteins endothelial nitric oxide synthase and VEGF receptor 2 expression compared with controls. The continuous pump (delivered at 138 days) and multiple dose lambs (delivered at 130 and 145 days) had mild persistent lung inflammation and no significant differences in lung morphometry or expression of endothelial proteins compared with controls. Surfactant saturated phosphatidylcholine pool sizes were increased in all endotoxin-exposed groups, but lung function was not changed relative to controls. Contrary to our hypothesis, a prolonged fetal exposure to intra-amniotic endotoxin caused mild persistent inflammation but did not lead to progressive structural abnormalities in lungs of near-term gestation lambs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)966-974
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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