Background: Activation of the endothelin-1 (ET-1) pathway may be involved in hypoxia-induced pulmonary vasoconstriction, increase in pulmonary pressure and high altitude pulmonary oedema. Thus, we investigated the effect of the ETA/ETB receptor antagonist, bosentan, on pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) in healthy subjects (n = 10).
Design: We used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over design to study the effects of a single oral dose of bosentan (250 mg) on PASP after 90-min-exposure to normobaric hypoxia (FiO(2) = 0.12). We measured PASP and cardiac output by echocardiography, systolic arterial blood pressure, arterial O(2) saturation (SaO(2)), and blood gases at rest and during a sub-maximal exercise.
Results: PASP in normoxia at rest was 23.5 +/- 2.7 and during exercise 39.8 +/- 11.6 mmHg (P < 0.0001). During the placebo period, hypoxia induced a significant decrease in SaO(2), PaO(2) and PCO(2) and increase in pH. PASP at rest increased significantly: 32.1 +/- 3.5 mmHg (P < 0.001 vs. normoxia). Bosentan significantly blunted the hypoxia-induced increase in PASP: bosentan: 27.0 +/- 3.3 mmHg, P = 0.002 vs. placebo at rest, but not during exercise: bosentan 39.8 +/- 11.6 vs. placebo 43.0 +/- 8.5 mmHg, ns. Bosentan had no effect on the hypoxia-induced changes in blood gases, or on cardiac output and systolic arterial blood pressure, which were not modified by hypoxia.
Conclusion: A single oral dose of bosentan blunted an acute hypoxia-induced increase in PASP in healthy subjects, without altering cardiac output or systemic blood pressure.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00026081.