Endothelin-Converting Enzyme/Neutral Endopeptidase Inhibitor SLV338 Prevents Hypertensive Cardiac Remodeling in a Blood Pressure–Independent Manner
Hypertensive heart disease is a major contributor to cardiovascular mortality. Endothelin is a potent vasoconstrictive and profibrotic mediator produced by the endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE), whereas natriuretic peptides, degraded by the neutral endopeptidase (NEP), have diuretic, vasodilatory, and antifibrotic properties. Thus, combined ECE/NEP inhibition may halt hypertensive cardiac remodeling. This study examined effects of SLV338, a novel ECE/NEP inhibitor, on cardiac protection in experimental renovascular hypertension (2-kidney, 1-clip [2K1C]). Male rats were allocated to 5 groups: sham-operated rats, untreated animals with 2K1C, 2K1C animals treated with oral SLV338 (30 and 100 mg/kg per day), and 2K1C animals treated with oral losartan (20 mg/kg per day). Treatment duration was 12 weeks. Blood pressure was assessed every 4 weeks. At study end, hearts were taken for histology/computer-aided histomorphometry/immunohistochemistry. Pharmacological properties of SLV338 are described. SLV338 is a dual ECE/NEP inhibitor, as demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. In the 2K1C study, losartan lowered blood pressure by ≤46 mm Hg, whereas both dosages of SLV338 had no effect. However, SLV338 (both dosages) completely normalized cardiac interstitial fibrosis, perivascular fibrosis, myocyte diameter, and media:lumen ratio of cardiac arteries, as did losartan. Cardiac transforming growth factor-β1 expression was significantly enhanced in untreated 2K1C rats versus controls, whereas treatment with SLV338 and losartan prevented this effect. Taken together, dual ECE/NEP inhibitor SLV338 prevents cardiac remodeling to the same extent as losartan, but in a blood pressure–independent manner, in a rat model of renovascular hypertension. This effect is at least partially mediated via suppression of cardiac transforming growth factor-β1 expression.
- Received October 4, 2010.
- Revision received October 29, 2010.
- Accepted January 19, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.