Objective: To compare the direct pulmonary vasodilating activity and specificity of phosphodiesterase-5 (zaprinast) and phosphodiesterase-3 (milrinone) inhibitors on the pulmonary vascular (PV) bed of the spontaneously breathing cat with an intact chest.
Design: Prospective, randomized animal study.
Setting: Laboratory of university hospital.
Subjects: Experiments were performed in vivo in intact-chest, spontaneously breathing cats with controlled pulmonary blood flow and constant left atrial pressure.
Interventions: The responses to intralobar injections of zaprinast and milrinone were investigated at low PV tone. PV tone was then increased by intralobar arterial infusion of a thromboxane A2 mimic, U46619. Animals received intralobar bolus injections of zaprinast or milrinone, followed by continuous IV infusion of the drug, which was administered in incremental doses titrated to produce a 20% reduction in mean systemic arterial pressure.
Measurements and main results: At low PV tone, zaprinast, but not milrinone, decreased lobar arterial pressure (LoAP). At elevated PV tone, both drugs caused dose-dependent decreases in LoAP; however, milrinone caused significantly less pulmonary vasodilation. Dose-related decreases in mean systemic arterial pressure were observed with milrinone, but not with zaprinast. When the continuous IV infusion was titrated to produce a 20% reduction in mean systemic arterial pressure, the decreases in lobar arterial pressure with zaprinast infusion were significantly greater than those produced by milrinone.
Conclusions: These data show that zaprinast and milrinone exert a direct in vivo vasodilator effect on the PV bed at low (zaprinast) and elevated (zaprinast and milrinone) PV tone; however, at elevated PV tone, the pulmonary vasodilator effect was greater with zaprinast then with milrinone. This suggests that phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors may potentially offer a therapeutic alternative in the management of acute pulmonary hypertension.