Publication: Restoration of Vitamin D Levels Improves Endothelial Function and Increases TASK-Like K+ Currents in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency
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Vitamin D (vitD) deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Moreover, PAH-patients with lower levels of vitD have worse prognosis. We hypothesize that recovering optimal levels of vitD in an animal model of PAH previously depleted of vitD improves the hemodynamics, the endothelial dysfunction and the ionic remodeling. Methods: Male Wistar rats were fed a vitD-free diet for five weeks and then received a single dose of Su5416 (20 mg/Kg) and were exposed to vitD-free diet and chronic hypoxia (10% O2) for three weeks to induce PAH. Following this, vitD deficient rats with PAH were housed in room air and randomly divided into two groups: (a) continued on vitD-free diet or (b) received an oral dose of 100,000 IU/Kg of vitD plus standard diet for three weeks. Hemodynamics, pulmonary vascular remodeling, pulmonary arterial contractility, and K+ currents were analyzed. Results: Recovering optimal levels of vitD improved endothelial function, measured by an increase in the endothelium-dependent vasodilator response to acetylcholine. It also increased the activity of TASK-1 potassium channels. However, vitD supplementation did not reduce pulmonary pressure and did not ameliorate pulmonary vascular remodeling and right ventricle hypertrophy. Conclusions: Altogether, these data suggest that in animals with PAH and severe deficit of vitD, restoring vitD levels to an optimal range partially improves some pathophysiological features of PAH.