A novel inhaled organic nitrate that affects pulmonary vascular tone in a piglet model of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension

Pediatr Res. 2005 Sep;58(3):531-6. doi: 10.1203/01.PDR.0000179399.64025.37.


Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is characterized by elevated pulmonary vascular resistance after birth leading to right-to-left shunting and systemic arterial hypoxemia. Inhaled nitric oxide (NO) is effective in reducing the need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, but it has potential toxicities, especially in an oxygen-rich environment. A number of other NO-based molecules have been given by inhalation, but their structure-function relationships have not been established. Recent studies have raised the idea that toxic and beneficial properties can be separated. We synthesized a novel organic nitrate [ethyl nitrate (ENO2)], tested it in vitro, and administered it to hypoxic piglets. ENO2 lowered pulmonary artery pressure and raised the Po2 in arterial blood but did not alter systemic vascular resistance or methemoglobin levels. In addition, we tested the effect of ENO2 in the presence of the thiol glutathione, both in vivo and in vitro, and found its action to be enhanced. Although ENO2 is less potent than inhaled NO on a dose-equivalency basis, pretreatment of hypoxic animals with glutathione, which may be depleted in injured lungs, led to a markedly enhanced effect (largely mitigating the difference in potency). These results suggest that ENO2 may hold promise as a safe alternative to NO, particularly in hypoxemic conditions characterized by thiol depletion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Hypoxia / complications*
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Methemoglobin / metabolism
  • Muscle Tonus*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Nitrates / administration & dosage*
  • Swine


  • Nitrates
  • Methemoglobin
  • ethyl nitrate