Regulation of endothelial permeability is poorly understood. Previous studies have shown that endothelial cells contain phosphodiesterase (PDE) isoenzymes II-IV and that simultaneous adenylate cyclase activation and/or PDE inhibition blocked endothelial hyperpermeability (J.Clin.Invest. 91: 1421-1428, 1993). We now focused on a possible role for guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent mechanisms and studied H2O2-exposed porcine pulmonary artery endothelial cell monolayers. Pretreatment of cells with different nitric oxide (NO) donors or atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) increased endothelial cGMP-content severalfold and blocked H2O2-related effects on permeability; opposite results were obtained with a NO synthase inhibitor. Determination of cGMP degradation in nitroprusside-exposed endothelial cells identified PDE II as the major cGMP metabolizing pathway, whereas PDE III and IV contributed little or nothing. Inhibition of PDE II reduced H2O2-related endothelial hyperpermeability, an effect that could be enhanced synergistically by simultaneous guanylate cyclase activation. In summary, these studies indicate that cGMP-dependent mechanisms (NO donors, ANP, and dibutyryl-cGMP) blocked H2O2-related increases in endothelial permeability. The major cGMP degrading pathway in endothelial cells was PDE II, thereby substituting the missing PDE V in these cells. Simultaneous guanylate cyclase activation and/or PDE II inhibition may be a valuable approach to treat endothelial hyperpermeability.
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