Infarct-induced chronic heart failure increases bidirectional protein movement across the alveolocapillary barrier
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is associated with adaptive structural changes at the alveolocapillary barrier that may be associated with altered protein permeability. Bidirectional protein movement across the barrier was studied in anesthetized rats with infarct-induced CHF by following 125I-labeled albumin (125I-albumin) flux into the alveoli and the leakage of surfactant protein (SP)-B from the alveoli into the circulation. Three groups were studied: controls [0% left ventricular (LV) infarction], moderate infarct (25-45% LV infarction), and large infarct (>46% LV infarction). Wet and dry lung weights increased in the large infarct group (both P < 0.001), consistent with increased lung water and solid lung tissue. 125I-albumin flux increased across the endothelial (P < 0.001) and epithelial (P < 0.01) components of the alveolocapillary barrier in the large infarct group. Plasma SP-B increased 23% with moderate infarcts (P < 0.05) and 97% with large infarcts (P < 0.001), independent of alveolar levels. Lavage fluid immune cells (P < 0.01) and myeloperoxidase activity (P < 0.05) increased in the large infarct group, consistent with inflammation. Bidirectional protein movement across the alveolocapillary barrier is increased in CHF, and alveolar inflammation may contribute to this pathophysiological defect.