Heme oxygenase suppresses markers of heart failure and ameliorates cardiomyopathy in L-NAME-induced hypertension

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Heart failure and related cardiac complications remains a great health challenge. We investigated the effects of upregulating heme-oxygenase (HO) on myocardial histo-pathological lesions, proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, oxidative mediators and important markers of heart failure such as osteopontin and osteoprotergerin in Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME)-induced hypertension. Treatment with the HO-inducer, heme-arginate improved myocardial morphology in L-NAME hypertensive rats by attenuating subendocardial injury, interstitial fibrosis, mononuclear-cell infiltration and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. These were associated with the reduction of several inflammatory/oxidative mediators including chemokines/cytokines such as macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha (MIP-1α), macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, endothelin-1, 8-isoprostane, nitrotyrosine, and aldosterone. Similarly, heme-arginate abated the elevated levels of extracellular matrix/remodeling proteins including transforming-growth factor beta (TGF-β1) and collagen-IV in the myocardium. These were accompanied by significant reduction of proteins of heart failure such as osteopontin and osteoprotegerin. Interestingly, the cardio-protective effects of heme-arginate were associated with the potentiation of adiponectin, atrial-natriuretic peptide (ANP), HO-1, HO-activity, cyclic gnanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and the total-anti-oxidant capacity, whereas the HO-inhibitor, chromium-mesoporphyrin nullified the effects of heme-arginate, exacerbating inflammatory injury and oxidative insults. We conclude that heme-arginate therapy protects myocardial damage by potentiating the HO-adiponectin-ANP axis, which in turn suppressed the elevated levels of aldosterone, pro-inflammatory chemokines/cytokines, mononuclear-cell infiltration and oxidative stress, with concomitant reduction of extracellular matrix/remodeling proteins and heart failure proteins. These data suggest a cardio-protective role of the HO system against L-NAME-induced hypertension that could be explored in the design of novel strategies against cardiomyopathy.

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