Mitigation of the progression of heart failure with sildenafil involves inhibition of RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway.

Vinh Q Chau, Fadi N Salloum, Nicholas N Hoke, Antonio Abbate, Rakesh C Kukreja
American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology2011
Chronic inhibition of phosphodiesterase-5 with sildenafil immediately after permanent occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery was shown to limit ischemic heart failure (HF) in mice. To mimic a more clinical scenario, we postulated that treatment with sildenafil beginning at 3 days post-myocardial infarction (MI) would also reduce HF progression through the inhibition of the RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway. Adult male ICR mice with fractional shortening < 25% at day 3 following permanent left anterior descending coronary artery ligation were continuously treated with either saline (volume matched, ip, 2 times/day) or sildenafil (21 mg/kg, ip, 2 times/day) for 25 days. Echocardiography showed fractional shortening preservation and less left ventricular end-diastolic dilatation with sildenafil treatment compared with saline treatment at 7 and 28 days post-MI (P < 0.05). Both fibrosis and apoptosis, determined by Masson's trichrome and terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), respectively, were attenuated in the sildenafil-treated mice (P < 0.05 vs. saline). Western blot analysis showed enchanced Bcl-2-to-Bax ratio with sildenafil treatment (P < 0.05 vs. saline). Activity assay showed sildenafil-mediated PKG activation 1 day after treatment (P < 0.05 vs. sham and saline). PKG activation was associated with sildenafil-mediated inhibition of Rho kinase (P < 0.05) compared with saline treatment, whereas PKG inhibition with KT-5823 abolished this inhibitory effect of sildenafil. In conclusion, for the first time, our findings show that chronic sildenafil treatment, initiated at 3 days post-MI, attenuates left ventricular dysfunction independent of its infarct-sparing effect, and this cardioprotection involves the inhibition of the RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway. Sildenafil may be a promising therapeutic tool for advanced HF in patients.
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