Effects of single lung transplantation on fatal pulmonary hypertension were evaluated in rats receiving a lethal dose of monocrotaline. Inbred rats treated with monocrotaline (80 mg/kg) received a left lung isograft at 4 weeks (n = 9) and at 6 weeks (n = 6), when moderate and severe pulmonary hypertension, respectively, had developed. Medicated (n = 12) and nonmedicated rats (n = 12) served as control animals. Each rat was tested weekly with treadmill for exercise tolerance and oxygen consumption during a 10-week period after medication and after they were killed. Medicated control rats lost exercise tolerance and highest oxygen consumption per unit time consistently to the range of resting value (or 45% of nonmedicated control rats), and all died from severe pulmonary vascular occlusive disease with right ventricular hypertrophy before 10 weeks (right ventricular/left ventricular weight ratio of 1.16). All rats receiving a left lung isograft at 4 weeks survived and regained highest oxygen consumption per unit time (87% of nonmedicated control rats), with the lung transplant receiving 65% (nonmedicated control rats, 39%) of cardiac output and milder right ventricular hypertrophy (right ventricular/left ventricular weight ratio of 0.46). Except for one, all rats that received a left lung isograft at 6 weeks tolerated single lung transplantation, but they died soon after reperfusion because of pulmonary edema in the graft that received 58% of cardiac output with right ventricular/left ventricular weight ratio of 0.79. Results of single lung transplantation in rats were dependent on severity of pulmonary hypertension. In rats with moderate pulmonary hypertension, single lung transplantation was successful in reversing exercise intolerance and right ventricular hypertrophy. Single lung transplantation was unsuccessful when pulmonary hypertension was severe in the rat model because increased flow toward the lung transplant resulted in graft pulmonary edema.
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