In vitro hypoxia differentially affects constriction and relaxation responses of isolated pulmonary arteries from broiler and leghorn chickens.
Previously, it was demonstrated that acute (4 min) and chronic (12 d) occlusion of an extrapulmonary primary bronchus triggers pulmonary hypertension but not pulmonary hypertension syndrome (PHS, ascites) in broilers. The present study was conducted to determine whether a more prolonged period of bronchus occlusion causes PHS similar to that induced by clamping one pulmonary artery. Male and female broiler chicks, 14 to 18 d old, were anesthetized, the thoracic inlet was opened, and a silver clip was positioned to fully obstruct the left extrapulmonary primary bronchus (BRONCHUS CLAMP group) or the left pulmonary artery (PA-CLAMP group). Sham-operated chicks were anesthetized and the thoracic inlet was opened; however, neither the pulmonary artery nor the bronchus was clamped (SHAM group). An electrocardiogram (ECG) was obtained whenever clinical ascites became apparent in individual broilers, or prior to the final necropsy for broilers surviving to the end (Day 36) of the experiment. The right:total ventricular weight ratio (RV:TV) was evaluated as an index of pulmonary arterial pressure. Early post-surgical mortality (up to 21 d of age) was higher in the PA-CLAMP group (27% for males and females combined) than in the BRONCHUS CLAMP (10%) and SHAM (2%) groups. Cumulative ascites mortality (Days 22 to 36) also was higher in the PA-CLAMP group (86% for males, 77% for females) than in the BRONCHUS CLAMP (69% for males, 41% for females) and SHAM (23% for males, 0% for females) groups. Ascitic birds in all treatment groups had higher RV:TV ratios and more negative ECG Lead II S-wave amplitudes than nonascitic birds, reflecting the right ventricular hypertrophy and generalized ventricular dilation typically associated with PHS. These results demonstrate that unilateral bronchus occlusion is an effective experimental model for triggering ascites at a lower incidence than that obtained by occluding one pulmonary artery. Following the onset of pulmonary hypertension, the pathophysiological progression leading to ascites appears to be similar for broilers with either unilateral bronchus or pulmonary artery occlusion.