Cardiopulmonary effects of low-dose arginine vasopressin in ovine acute lung injury

Martin Westphal, Sebastian Rehberg, Marc O. Maybauer, Dirk M. Maybauer, Perenlei Enkhbaatar, Beena B. Westphal-Varghese, Frank C. Schmalstieg, Naoki Morita, Robert A. Cox, Lillian D. Traber, Hal Hawkins, Elbert Whorton, Daniel L. Traber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To elucidate the effects of low-dose arginine vasopressin on cardiopulmonary functions and nitrosative stress using an established model of acute lung injury. Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled laboratory experiment. Setting: Investigational intensive care unit. Subjects: Eighteen chronically instrumented sheep. Interventions: Sheep were randomly assigned to a sham group without injury or treatment, an injury group without treatment (40% total body surface area third-degree burn and 48 breaths of cold cotton smoke), or an injured group treated with arginine vasopressin (0.02 IU•min) from 1 hr after injury until the end of the 24-hr study period (each n = 6). All sheep were mechanically ventilated and fluid resuscitated using an established protocol. Measurements and Main Results: There were no differences among groups at baseline. The injury was characterized by a severe deterioration of cardiopulmonary function (left ventricular stroke work indexes and Pao2/Fio2 ratio; p < .01 each vs. sham). Compared with controls, arginine vasopressin infusion improved myocardial function, as suggested by higher stroke volume indexes and left ventricular stroke work indexes (18-24 hrs and 6-24 hrs, respectively; p < .05 each). In addition to an improved gas exchange (higher Pao2/Fio2 ratios from 6 to 24 hrs, p < .01 each), pulmonary edema (bloodless wet-to-dry-weight ratio; p = .018), bronchial obstruction (p = .01), and pulmonary shunt fraction (12-24 hrs; p ≤ .001 each) were attenuated in arginine vasopressin-treated animals compared with controls. These changes occurred along with reduced nitrosative stress, as indicated by lower plasma levels of nitrate/nitrite (12-24 hrs, p < .01 each), as well as lower myocardial and pulmonary tissue concentrations of 3-nitrotyrosine (p = .041 and p = .042 vs. controls, respectively). At 24 hrs, pulmonary 3-nitrotyrosine concentrations were negatively correlated with Pao2/Fio2 ratio (r = -.882; p < .001) and myocardial 3-nitrotyrosine content with stroke volume indexes (r = -.701; p = .004). Conclusions: Low-dose arginine vasopressin reduced nitrosative stress and improved cardiopulmonary functions in sheep with acute lung injury secondary to combined burn and smoke inhalation injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • arginine vasopressin
  • burn
  • nitrosative stress
  • smoke inhalation injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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