Dopamine inhibits pulmonary edema through the VEGF-VEGFR2 axis in a murine model of acute lung injury

Pawan K. Vohra, Luke H. Hoeppner, Gunisha Sagar, Shamit K. Dutta, Sanjay Misra, Rolf D. Hubmayr, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The neurotransmitter dopamine and its dopamine receptor D2 (D2DR) agonists are known to inhibit vascular permeability factor/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-mediated angiogenesis and vascular permeability. Lung injury is a clinical syndrome associated with increased microvascular permeability. However, the effects of dopamine on pulmonary edema, a phenomenon critical to the pathophysiology of both acute and chronic lung injuries, have yet to be established. Therefore, we sought to determine the potential therapeutic effects of dopamine in a murine model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced acute lung injury (ALI). Compared with sham-treated controls, pretreatment with dopamine (50 mg/kg body wt) ameliorated LPS-mediated edema formation and lowered myeloperoxidase activity, a measure of neutrophil infiltration. Moreover, dopamine significantly increased survival rates of LPS-treated mice, from 0-75%. Mechanistically, we found that dopamine acts through the VEGFVEGFR2 axis to reduce pulmonary edema, as dopamine pretreatment in LPS-treated mice resulted in decreased serum VEGF, VEGFR2 phosphorylation, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase phosphorylation. We used D2DR knockout mice to confirm that dopamine acts through D2DR to block vascular permeability in our lung injury model. As expected, a D2DR agonist failed to reduce pulmonary edema in D2DR -/- mice. Taken together, our results suggest that dopamine acts through D2DR to inhibit pulmonary edema-associated vascular permeability, which is mediated through VEGF-VEGFR2 signaling and conveys protective effects in an ALI model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Dopamine receptor D2
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor


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