Cognitive Impairment in Heart Failure: A Protective Role for Angiotensin-(1-7)

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Abstract

Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) have increased hospital readmission rates and mortality if they are concomitantly diagnosed with cognitive decline and memory loss. Accordingly, we developed a preclinical model of CHF-induced cognitive impairment with the goal of developing novel protective therapies against CHF related cognitive decline. CHF was induced by ligation of the left coronary artery to instigate a myocardial infarction (MI). By 4- and 8-weeks post-MI, CHF mice had approximately a 50% and 70% decline in ejection fraction as measured by echocardiography. At both 4- and 8-weeks post-MI, spatial memory performance in CHF mice as tested using the Morris water task was significantly impaired as compared with sham. In addition, CHF mice had significantly worse performance on object recognition when compared with shams as measured by discrimination ratios during the novel object recognition NOR task. At 8-weeks post-MI, a subgroup of CHF mice were given Angiotensin (Ang)-(1–7) (50mcg/kg/hr) subcutaneously for 4 weeks. Following 3 weeks treatment with systemic Ang-(1–7), the CHF mice NOR discrimination ratios were similar to shams and significantly better than the performance of CHF mice treated with saline. Ang-(1–7) also improved spatial memory in CHF mice as compared with shams. Ang-(1–7) had no effect on cardiac function. Inflammatory biomarker studies from plasma revealed a pattern of neuroprotection that may underlie the observed improvements in cognition. These results demonstrate a preclinical mouse model of CHF that exhibits both spatial memory and object recognition dysfunction. Furthermore, this CHF-induced cognitive impairment is attenuated by treatment with systemic Ang-(1–7).

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