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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 5843981, 11 pages
Research Article

N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Excessive Activation Inhibited Fetal Rat Lung Development In Vivo and In Vitro

1Department of Pediatrics, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China
2Department of Pediatrics, The First Hospital of Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Changsha, Hunan, China
3Department of Physiology, Xiangya Medical School, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China
4Department of Radiology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China

Received 21 February 2016; Accepted 26 May 2016

Academic Editor: Beverly Muhlhausler

Copyright © 2016 Zhengchang Liao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Intrauterine hypoxia is a common cause of fetal growth and lung development restriction. Although N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are distributed in the postnatal lung and play a role in lung injury, little is known about NMDAR’s expression and role in fetal lung development. Methods. Real-time PCR and western blotting analysis were performed to detect NMDARs between embryonic days (E) 15.5 and E21.5 in fetal rat lungs. NMDAR antagonist MK-801’s influence on intrauterine hypoxia-induced retardation of fetal lung development was tested in vivo, and NMDA’s direct effect on fetal lung development was observed using fetal lung organ culture in vitro. Results. All seven NMDARs are expressed in fetal rat lungs. Intrauterine hypoxia upregulated NMDARs expression in fetal lungs and decreased fetal body weight, lung weight, lung-weight-to-body-weight ratio, and radial alveolar count, whereas MK-801 alleviated this damage in vivo. In vitro experiments showed that NMDA decreased saccular circumference and area per unit and downregulated thyroid transcription factor-1 and surfactant protein-C mRNA expression. Conclusions. The excessive activation of NMDARs contributed to hypoxia-induced fetal lung development retardation and appropriate blockade of NMDAR might be a novel therapeutic strategy for minimizing the negative outcomes of prenatal hypoxia on lung development.