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We previously reported that 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE) is an endogenous cytochrome P450 (cP450) 4A metabolite of arachidonic acid (AA) in human lung tissue, and is a potent cyclooxygenase-dependent vasodilator of isolated pulmonary arteries. In the present investigations, we identified sources of cP450 4A immunospecific protein, messenger RNA (mRNA), and 20-HETE synthesis in rabbit lungs. Microsomes of peripheral lung tissue, airways, small and large vessels, and lysates of alveolar macrophages all express proteins of ˜ 50 kD which cross-reacted with a primary antibody raised against rat liver cP450 4A1. Peripheral lung tissue, small and large pulmonary arteries, airways, and isolated vascular smooth muscle cells from small pulmonary arteries produced 20-HETE when incubated with AA. Expression of cP450 4A6/4A7 mRNA was readily detectable by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction using isoform-specific probes and 5 μg total RNA extracted from microdissected small pulmonary arteries. These data demonstrate that small pulmonary arteries express cP450 4A proteins and vascular smooth muscle cells derived from these arteries synthesize 20-HETE. Furthermore, cP450 4A appears to be widely distributed in rabbit tissue, raising the possibility that 20-HETE generated from nonvascular tissue could serve as a paracrine factor in the pulmonary circulation.