Background/Purpose: The mechanisms that cause pulmonary hypoplasia associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) currently are unknown, The authors proposed that the reduced size and immaturity of these lungs may be associated with differences in the levels of mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase phosphorylation (extracellular signal regulated protein kinases, ERK-1 and -2). Methods: ERK-1 activities were measured using immune-complex kinase assays on fetal whole-lung lysates obtained from both nitrofen and olive oil-treated (control) pregnant rats. In addition, ERK-1 and ERK-2 functional activities were estimated by semiquantitative Western blot analysis, using an antibody specific for the diphosphorylated (dp-ERK, activated) forms of the enzymes, Results: ERK-1 activities, measured using immune-complex kinase assays, were reduced in CDH lungs compared with olive oil-treated controls (P<.02). In addition, dp-ERK-1 and dp-ERK-2 levels were found to be reduced in CDH lungs compared with controls (dp-ERK-1, P =.003; dp-ERK-2, P =.04), whereas ERK-1 and ERK-2 protein levels were unchanged, Conclusions: The lower values of ERK-1 activity and reduced amounts of dp-ERK-1 and dp-ERK-2 in lung tissue from CDH animals, suggests that ERK-1 and ERK-2 activities are reduced in pulmonary hypoplasia associated with CDH, The observed reduction in ERK-1 and ERK-2 activities implicates attenuated cell signaling upstream of the ERK-1 and -2 enzymes.
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
- Extracellular regulated kinase
- Mitogen activated protein kinase