Scientific publications

Chronic AT(1) blockade stimulates extracellular collagen type I degradation and reverses myocardial fibrosis in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Jun 1, 2000 | Magazine: Hypertension

Varo N., Iraburu M.J., Varela M., López B., Etayo J.C., Díez J.

It has been suggested that left ventricular fibrosis in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) is the result of both exaggerated collagen synthesis and insufficient collagen degradation.

We have shown previously that chronic treatment with the angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist losartan results in diminished synthesis of collagen type I molecules and reversal of myocardial fibrosis in SHR. This study was designed to investigate whether losartan also affects the extracellular degradation of collagen type I fibers in the left ventricle of SHR.

The study was performed in 30-week-old normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY), untreated SHR, and SHR treated with orally administered losartan (20 mg/kg per day) for 14 weeks before they were killed. Ventricular collagenase activity was determined by degradation of [(14)C]collagen with tissue extracts. Ventricular expression of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 (TIMP-1) mRNA was analyzed by Northern blot.

A histomorphometric study of the left ventricle was performed in all rats. Compared with WKY, SHR exhibited left ventricular hypertrophy, increased (P<0.05) blood pressure, left ventricular collagen volume fraction and TIMP-1 mRNA, and diminished (P<0.05) collagenase activity. After the treatment period, blood pressure was higher (P<0.05) in losartan-treated SHR than in WKY, and no significant differences were noted in the remaining parameters between the 2 strains of rats. Compared with untreated SHR, treated SHR showed no left ventricular hypertrophy, diminished (P<0.05) blood pressure, left ventricular collagen volume fraction and TIMP-1 mRNA, and increased (P<0.05) collagenase activity.

These results suggest that the transcription of the TIMP-1 gene is upregulated in the hypertrophied and fibrotic left ventricle of adult SHR. Upregulation of TIMP-1 may account for diminished collagenase activity in the myocardium of those rats. Chronic angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockade with losartan resulted in inhibition of TIMP-1 expression and stimulation of collagenase activity in the left ventricle of SHR. It is proposed that angiotensin II may facilitate myocardial fibrosis in SHR by depressing the collagenase-mediated extracellular degradation of collagen fibers.

CITATION  Hypertension. 2000 Jun;35(6):1197-202