Introduction: The scaffolding protein βarrestin1 (βarr1) by the angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (AT1R) mediates AngII-induced aldosterone production in vitro and physiologically in vivo, thereby exacerbating heart failure (HF) progression post-myocardial infarction (MI). Herein, we sought to investigate the relative potency of various AT1R antagonist drugs (sartans) at inhibiting βarr vs. G protein activation and hence aldosterone production in vitro and in vivo. We also investigated the alterations in plasma aldosterone levels conferred by these agents and their impact on cardiac function of post-MI rats.
Methods: For the in vitro tests, transfected CHO and adrenocortical H295R cells were used. For in vivo studies, post-MI rats overexpressing βarr1 in their adrenals received 7-day-long treatments with the drugs of interest.
Results: Among the sartans tested, candesartan and valsartan were the most potent βarr activation and βarr-mediated aldosterone production inhibitors in vitro, as well as the most “biased” antagonists towards βarr vs. G-protein inhibition. Conversely, losartan and irbesartan were the least potent βarr inhibitors and the least “biased” antagonists towards βarr inhibition. These in vitro findings were corroborated in vivo, since candesartan and valsartan, contrary to irbesartan, caused significant plasma aldosterone reductions in post-MI rats. Accordingly, cardiac ejection fraction (EF) and contractility were significantly augmented in candesartan- and valsartan-treated rats (EF: 41.1±1% and 40±1% respectively, vs. 35±0.3% for saline-treated), but further deteriorated in irbesartan-treated post-MI rats (EF: 32±1%, n=7 rats/group).
Conclusions: These findings provide important insights that might aid pharmacotherapeutic decisions (i.e. individual agent selections) involving this commonly prescribed cardiovascular drug class (sartans).