Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists attenuate pulmonary inflammation and bleomycin-evoked fibrosis in rodent models

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Accumulating evidence indicates protective actions of mineralocorticoid antagonists (MR antagonists) on cardiovascular pathology, which includes blunting vascular inflammation and myocardial fibrosis. We examined the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic potential of MR antagonists in rodent respiratory models. In an ovalbumin allergic and challenged Brown Norway rat model, the total cell count in nasal lavage was 29,348±5451, which was blocked by spironolactone (0.3–60 mg/kg, p.o.) and eplerenone (0.3–30 mg/kg, p.o.). We also found that MR antagonists attenuated pulmonary inflammation in the Brown Norway rat. A series of experiments were conducted to determine the actions of MR blockade in acute/chronic lung injury models. (1) Ex vivo lung slice rat experiments found that eplerenone (0.01 and 10 μM) and spironolactone (10 μM) diminished lung hydroxyproline concentrations by 55±5, 122±9, and 83±8%. (2) In in vivo studies, MR antagonists attenuated the increases in bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL) neutrophils and macrophages caused by lung bleomycin exposure. In separate studies, bleomycin (4.0 U/kg, i.t.) increased lung levels of hydroxyproline by approximately 155%, which was blocked by spironolactone (10–60 mg/kg, p.o.). In a rat Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) model, spironolactone inhibited acute increases in BAL cytokines with moderate effects on neutrophils. Finally, we found that chronic LPS exposure significantly increased end expiratory lung and decreased lung elastance in the mouse. These functional effects of chronic LPS were improved by MR antagonists. Our results demonstrate that MR antagonists have significant pharmacological actions in the respiratory system.

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