Pharmacological renin inhibition with aliskiren is an effective antihypertensive drug treatment, but it is currently unknown whether aliskiren is able to attenuate cardiac failure independent of its blood pressure-lowering effects. We investigated the effect of aliskiren on cardiac remodeling, apoptosis, and left ventricular (LV) function after experimental myocardial infarction (MI). C57J/bl6 mice were subjected to coronary artery ligation and were treated for 10 days with vehicle or aliskiren (50 mg/kg per day via an SC osmopump), whereas sham-operated animals served as controls. This dose of aliskiren, which did not affect systemic blood pressure, improved systolic and diastolic LV function, as measured by the assessment of pressure-volume loops after MI. Furthermore, after MI LV dilatation, cardiac hypertrophy and lung weights were decreased in mice treated with aliskiren compared with placebo-treated mice after MI. This was associated with a normalization of the mitogen-activated protein kinase P38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2, AKT, and the apoptotic markers bax and bcl-2 (all measured by Western blots), as well as the number of TUNEL-positive cells in histology. LV dilatation, as well as the associated upregulation of gene expression (mRNA abundance) and activity (by zymography) of the cardiac metalloproteinase 9 in the placebo group after MI, was also attenuated in the aliskiren-treated group. Aliskiren improved LV dysfunction after MI in a dose that did not affect blood pressure. This was associated with the amelioration of cardiac remodelling, hypertrophy, and apoptosis.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Westermann, D., Riad, A., Lettau, O., Roks, A., Sawatis, K., Becher, P. M., … Tschöpe, C. (2008). Renin inhibition improves cardiac function and remodeling after myocardial infarction independent of blood pressure. Hypertension, 52(6), 1068–1075. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.116350