Diminazene Aceturate Improves Cardiac Fibrosis and Diastolic Dysfunction in Rats with Kidney Disease.
ABSTRACT: Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) 2 is a negative regulator of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) through its role to degrade angiotensin II. In rats with subtotal nephrectomy (STNx), adverse cardiac remodelling occurs despite elevated cardiac ACE2 activity. We hypothesised that diminazene aceturate (DIZE), which has been described as having an off-target effect to activate ACE2, would have beneficial cardiac effects in STNx rats. STNx led to hypertension, diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and increased cardiac ACE, ACE2, Ang II and Ang 1-7 levels. Cardiac gene expression of ADAM17 was also increased. In STNx, two-weeks of subcutaneous DIZE (15mg/kg/d) had no effect on blood pressure but improved diastolic dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis, reduced ADAM17 mRNA and shifted the cardiac RAS balance to a cardioprotective profile with reduced ACE and Ang II. There was no change in cardiac ACE2 activity or in cardiac Ang 1-7 levels with DIZE. In conclusion, our results suggest that DIZE exerts a protective effect on the heart under the pathological condition of kidney injury. This effect was not due to improved kidney function, a fall in blood pressure or a reduction in LVH but was associated with a reduction in cardiac ACE and cardiac Ang II levels. As in vitro studies showed no direct effect of DIZE on ACE2 or ACE activity, the precise mechanism of action of DIZE remains to be determined.
Project description:ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) 2 is expressed in the heart and kidney and metabolizes Ang (angiotensin) II to Ang-(1-7) a peptide that acts via the Ang-(1-7) or mas receptor. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of Ang-(1-7) on blood pressure and cardiac remodelling in a rat model of renal mass ablation. Male SD (Sprague-Dawley) rats underwent STNx (subtotal nephrectomy) and were treated for 10 days with vehicle, the ACE inhibitor ramipril (oral 1 mg·kg(-1) of body weight·day(-1)) or Ang-(1-7) (subcutaneous 24 ?g·kg(-1) of body weight·h(-1)) (all n = 15 per group). A control group (n = 10) of sham-operated rats were also studied. STNx rats were hypertensive (P<0.01) with renal impairment (P<0.001), cardiac hypertrophy (P<0.001) and fibrosis (P<0.05), and increased cardiac ACE (P<0.001) and ACE2 activity (P<0.05). Ramipril reduced blood pressure (P<0.01), improved cardiac hypertrophy (P<0.001) and inhibited cardiac ACE (P<0.001). By contrast, Ang-(1-7) infusion in STNx was associated with further increases in blood pressure (P<0.05), cardiac hypertrophy (P<0.05) and fibrosis (P<0.01). Ang-(1-7) infusion also increased cardiac ACE activity (P<0.001) and reduced cardiac ACE2 activity (P<0.05) compared with STNx-vehicle rats. Our results add to the increasing evidence that Ang-(1-7) may have deleterious cardiovascular effects in kidney failure and highlight the need for further in vivo studies of the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/mas receptor axis in kidney disease.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>There were limited studies investigating treatments of septic cardiomyopathy (SCM), which is a common complication during sepsis. A septic rat model created by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) was used to investigate the effects of diminazene aceturate (DIZE) in SCM.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 151 Wistar rats were randomly assigned into the sham, CLP, or CLP + DIZE group. Data evaluated postoperatively at 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours included: cardiac function; plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6, angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)], angiotensin II (AngII), troponin I, and brain natriuretic peptide; expression levels of myocardial Ang-(1-7), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), ACE2, and angiotensin type 1 and Mas receptors; and histological changes.<h4>Results</h4>We found that the CLP + DIZE group had a lower mortality compared to the CLP group (38.5% versus 61.5%) within 48 h postoperatively, although without statistical significance. In contrast to the sham group, the CLP group had decreased cardiac functions, increased myocardial injuries, and higher TNF-α levels, which were ameliorated in the CLP + DIZE group. Furthermore, administration of DIZE could reverse the decreases of myocardial Ang-(1-7) and ACE2 expressions in the CLP group, which finally minimized the myocardial microstructure disruptions.<h4>Conclusions</h4>It was concluded that DIZE could mitigate the development of SCM and preserve cardiac function during sepsis possibly by interfering with the renin-angiotensin system through promoting myocardial ACE2 expression and restoring local Ang-(1-7) levels.
Project description:Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a lethal and rapidly progressing disorder if left untreated, but there is still no definitive therapy. An imbalance between vasoconstriction and vasodilation has been proposed as the mechanism underlying PH. Among the vasomediators of the pulmonary circulation is the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), the involvement of which in the development of PH has been proposed. Within the RAS, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which converts angiotensin (Ang) II into Ang-(1-7), is an important regulator of blood pressure, and has been implicated in cardiovascular disease and PH. In this study, we investigated the effects of the ACE2 activator diminazene aceturate (DIZE) on the development of PH secondary to left ventricular dysfunction. A model of PH secondary to left ventricular dysfunction was established in 6-week-old Wistar rats by ascending aortic banding for 42 days. The hemodynamics and pulmonary expression of ACE, Ang II, ACE2, Ang-(1-7), and the Ang-(1-7) MAS receptor were investigated in the early treatment group, which was administered DIZE (15 mg/kg/day) from days 1 to 42, and in the late treatment group, administered DIZE (15 mg/kg/day) from days 29 to 42. Sham-operated rats served as controls. DIZE ameliorated mean pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary arteriolar remodeling, and plasma brain natriuretic peptide levels, in addition to reversing the overexpression of ACE and up-regulation of both Ang-(1-7) and MAS, in the early and late treatment groups. DIZE has therapeutic potential for preventing the development of PH secondary to left ventricular dysfunction through ACEII activation and the positive feedback of ANG-(1-7) on the MAS receptor. A translational study in humans is needed to substantiate these findings.
Project description:Congestive heart failure (CHF) is often associated with kidney and pulmonary dysfunction. Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) contributes to avid sodium retention, cardiac hypertrophy and oedema formation, including lung congestion. While the status of the classic components of RAAS such as renin, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensin II (Ang II) and angiotensin II receptor AT-1 is well studied in CHF, the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), a key enzyme of angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7) generation in the pulmonary, cardiac and renal systems has not been studied thoroughly in this clinical setting. This issue is of a special interest as Ang 1-7 counterbalance the vasoconstrictory, pro-inflammatory and pro-proliferative actions of Ang II. Furthermore, CHF predisposes to COVID-19 disease severity, while ACE2 also serves as the binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 in human host-cells, and acts in concert with furin, an important enzyme in the synthesis of BNP in CHF, in permeating viral functionality along TMPRSST2. ADAM17 governs ACE2 shedding from cell membranes. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the expression of ACE2, furin, TMPRSS2 and ADAM17 in the lung, heart and kidneys of rats with CHF to understand the exaggerated susceptibility of clinical CHF to COVID-19 disease. Heart failure was induced in male Sprague Dawley rats by the creation of a surgical aorto-caval fistula. Sham-operated rats served as controls. One week after surgery, the animals were subdivided into compensated and decompensated CHF according to urinary sodium excretion. Both groups and their controls were sacrificed, and their hearts, lungs and kidneys were harvested for assessment of tissue remodelling and ACE2, furin, TMPRSS2 and ADAM17 immunoreactivity, expression and immunohistochemical staining. ACE2 immunoreactivity and mRNA levels increased in pulmonary, cardiac and renal tissues of compensated, but not in decompensated CHF. Furin immunoreactivity was increased in both compensated and decompensated CHF in the pulmonary, cardiac tissues and renal cortex but not in the medulla. Interestingly, both the expression and abundance of pulmonary, cardiac and renal TMPRSS2 decreased in CHF in correlation with the severity of the disease. Pulmonary, cardiac and renal ADAM17 mRNA levels were also downregulated in decompensated CHF. Circulating furin levels increased in proportion to CHF severity, whereas plasma ACE2 remained unchanged. In summary, ACE2 and furin are overexpressed in the pulmonary, cardiac and renal tissues of compensated and to a lesser extent of decompensated CHF as compared with their sham controls. The increased expression of the ACE2 in heart failure may serve as a compensatory mechanism, counterbalancing the over-activity of the deleterious isoform, ACE. Downregulated ADAM17 might enhance membranal ACE2 in COVID-19 disease, whereas the suppression of TMPRSS2 in CHF argues against its involvement in the exaggerated susceptibility of CHF patients to SARS-CoV2.
Project description:The renin angiotensin system (RAS) plays a vital role in the regulation of the cardiovascular and renal functions. COS7 is a robust and easily transfectable cell line derived from the kidney of the African green monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops. The aims of this study were to 1) demonstrate the presence of an endogenous and functional RAS in COS7, and 2) investigate the role of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase-17 (ADAM17) in the ectodomain shedding of angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Reverse transcription coupled to gene-specific polymerase chain reaction demonstrated expression of ACE, ACE2, angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R), and renin at the transcript levels in total RNA cell extracts. Western blot and immunohistochemistry identified ACE (60 kDa), ACE2 (75 kDa), AT1R (43 kDa), renin (41 kDa), and ADAM17 (130 kDa) in COS7. At the functional level, a sensitive and selective mass spectrometric approach detected endogenous renin, ACE, and ACE2 activities. ANG-(1-7) formation (m/z 899) from the natural substrate ANG II (m/z 1,046) was detected in lysates and media. COS7 cells stably expressing shRNA constructs directed against endogenous ADAM17 showed reduced ACE2 shedding into the media. This is the first study demonstrating endogenous expression of the RAS and ADAM17 in the widely used COS7 cell line and its utility to study ectodomain shedding of ACE2 mediated by ADAM17 in vitro. The transfectable nature of this cell line makes it an attractive cell model for studying the molecular, functional, and pharmacological properties of the renal RAS.
Project description:Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays a critical role against myocardial infarction (MI). We hypothesized that activation of intrinsic ACE2 would be protective against ischemia-induced cardiac pathophysiology. Diminazene aceturate (DIZE), a small molecule ACE2 activator, has been used to evaluate this hypothesis. DIZE (15 mg/kg per day, s.c.) was injected 2 days before MI surgery and continued throughout the study period. MI rats showed a 62% decrease in fractional shortening (%; control, 51.1±3.2; DIZE alone, 52.1±3.2; MI, 19.1±3.0), a 55% decrease in contractility (dP/dtmax mm Hg/s; control, 9480±425.3; DIZE alone, 9585±597.4; MI, 4251±657.7), and a 27% increase in ventricular hypertrophy (mg/mm; control, 26.5±1.5; DIZE alone, 26.9±1.4; MI, 33.4±1.1). DIZE attenuated the MI-induced decrease in fractional shortening by 89%, improved dP/dtmax by 92%, and reversed ventricular hypertrophy by 18%. MI also significantly increased ACE and angiotensin type 1 receptor levels but decreased ACE2 activity by 40% (control, 246.2±25.1; DIZE alone, 254.2±20.6; MI, 148.9±29.2; RFU/min), which was reversed by DIZE treatment. Thus, DIZE treatment decreased the infarct area, attenuated LV remodeling post-MI, and restored normal balance of the cardiac renin-angiotensin system. In addition, DIZE treatment increased circulating endothelial progenitor cells, increased engraftment of cardiac progenitor cells, and decreased inflammatory cells in peri-infarct cardiac regions. All of the beneficial effects associated with DIZE treatment were abolished by C-16, an ACE2 inhibitor. Collectively, DIZE and DIZE-like small molecules may represent promising new therapeutic agents for MI.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening and deteriorating disease with no promising therapy available currently due to its diversity and complexity. An imbalance between vasoconstriction and vasodilation has been proposed as the mechanism of PAH. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which catalyzes the hydrolysis of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin (Ang) II into the vasodilator Ang-(1-7), has been shown to be an important regulator of blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Herein we hypothesized diminazene aceturate (DIZE), an ACE2 activator, could ameliorate the development of PAH and pulmonary vascular remodeling. <b>Methods:</b> A murine model of PAH was established using left pneumonectomy (PNx) on day 0 followed by injection of a single dose of the VEGF receptor-2 inhibitor SU5416 (25 mg/kg) subcutaneously on day 1. All hemodynamic and biochemical measurements were done at the end of the study on day 42. Animals were divided into 4 groups (<i>n</i> = 6-8/group): (1) sham-operated group, (2) vehicle-treatment group (SuPNx<sub>42</sub>), (3) early treatment group (SuPNx<sub>42</sub>/DIZE<sub>1-42</sub>) with DIZE at 15 mg/kg/day, subcutaneously from day 1 to day 42, and (4) late treatment group (SuPNx<sub>42</sub>/DIZE<sub>29-42</sub>) with DIZE from days 29-42. <b>Results:</b> In both the early and late treatment groups, DIZE significantly attenuated the mean pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary arteriolar remodeling, and right ventricle brain natriuretic peptide <b>(</b>BNP), as well as reversed the overexpression of ACE while up-regulating the expression of Ang-(1-7) when compared with the vehicle-treatment group. In addition, the early treatment group also significantly decreased plasma BNP and increased the expression of eNOS. <b>Conclusions:</b> ACE2 activator has therapeutic potentials for preventing and attenuating the development of PAH in an animal model of left pneumonectomy combined with VEGF inhibition. Activation of ACE2 may thus be a useful therapeutic strategy for the treatment of human PAH.
Project description:Atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Western countries. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) with its two main opposing effectors, i.e., angiotensin II (Ang II) and Ang-(1-7), is widely recognized as a major regulator of cardiovascular function and body metabolic processes. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) by breaking-down Ang II forms Ang-(1-7) and thus favors Ang-(1-7) actions. Therefore, the aim of our study was to comprehensively evaluate the influence of prolonged treatment with ACE2 activator, diminazene aceturate (DIZE) on the development of atherosclerotic lesions and hepatic steatosis in apoE<sup>-/-</sup> mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). We have shown that DIZE stabilized atherosclerotic lesions and attenuated hepatic steatosis in apoE<sup>-/-</sup> mice fed an HFD. Such effects were associated with decreased total macrophages content and increased α-smooth muscle actin levels in atherosclerotic plaques. Moreover, DIZE changed polarization of macrophages towards increased amount of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages in the atherosclerotic lesions. Interestingly, the anti-steatotic action of DIZE in the liver was related to the elevated levels of HDL in the plasma, decreased levels of triglycerides, and increased biosynthesis and concentration of taurine in the liver of apoE<sup>-/-</sup> mice. However, exact molecular mechanisms of both anti-atherosclerotic and anti-steatotic actions of DIZE require further investigations.
Project description:Retinal inflammation is a devastating pathological process in ocular diseases. Functional impairment of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is associated with inflammatory retinal diseases. Enhancing the protective axis namely ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas by activation of ACE2 presents anti-inflammatory properties. We investigated whether diminazene aceturate (DIZE), an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) activator, prevented lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory response by activating the protective axis and whether the effect was mediated by inhibiting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) pathways.Cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and real-time PCR were used to determine the optimum concentration and incubation time of DIZE. ARPE-19 cells and primary cultured human retinal pigment epithelia (hRPE) were incubated with or without 10 ?g/mL DIZE for 6 h before stimulated with 5 ?g/mL LPS for 24 h. The mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, AT1R, and AT2R was analyzed. The protein level of inflammatory cytokines, Ang II, and Ang-(1-7) was detected. Phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and phosphorylated transcription inhibition factor-?B-? (p-I?B-?) were measured. Inhibitors of MAPKs and NF-?B were added to verify the involvement of these pathways. A small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to ACE2 and a selective Ang-(1-7) antagonist A779 was used to confirm the role of ACE2 and the involvement of ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis.DIZE remarkably increased the expression of ACE2 and inhibited the expression of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 at both mRNA and protein levels in both RPE cell lines stimulated with LPS. Inhibitors of p38, ERK1/2, JNK, and NF-?B significantly decreased LPS-induced overproduction of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1. DIZE reduced the expression of Ang II and AT1R, whereas increased Ang-(1-7). Furthermore, DIZE downregulated the phosphorylation of p38MAPK, ERK1/2, JNK, and the activation of NF-?B upon stimulation with LPS. Downregulating ACE2 and pre-treatment with A779 abrogated the effects of DIZE on production of cytokines, the expression of Ang II, Ang-(1-7), AT1R, phosphorylation of MAPKs and activation of NF-?B.DIZE inhibits LPS-induced inflammatory response by activating ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis in human RPE cells. The protective effect is mediated by inhibiting the p38MAPK, ERK1/2, JNK, and NF-?B pathways.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a metallopeptidase that primarily functions as a negative regulator of renin angiotensin system (RAS) by converting angiotensin II (Ang II) to angiotensin 1-7. Contrary to this, another RAS component, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) catalyzes synthesis of Ang II from angiotensin I (Ang I) that functions as active compound in blood pressure regulation. This indicates importance of ACE/ACE2 level in regulating blood pressure by targeting Ang II. An outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) highlighted the additional role of ACE2 as a receptor for SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection. <h4>Main body of the abstract</h4> ACE2 is a functional receptor for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Activation of spike (S)-protein by either type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) or cathepsin-mediated cleavage initiates receptor binding and viral entry. In addition to TTSPs, ACE2 can also be trimmed by ADAM 17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17) that competes for the same receptor. Cleavage by TTSPs activates ACE2 receptor for binding, whereas ADAM17 releases extracellular fragment called soluble ACE2 (sACE2). Structural studies of both ACE2 and S-protein have found critical sites involved in binding mechanism. In addition to studies on structural motifs, few single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) studies have been done to find an association between genetic variants and SARS susceptibility. Though no association was found in those reports, but seeing the non-reproducibility of SNP studies among different ethnic groups, screening of ACE2 SNPs in individual population can be undertaken. <h4>Short conclusion</h4> Thus, screening for novel SNPs focussing on recently identified critical regions of ACE2 can be targeted to monitor susceptibility towards coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).