Antioxidant N-acetylcysteine inhibits maladaptive myocyte autophagy in pressure overload induced cardiac remodeling in rats

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Increased oxidative stress and myocyte autophagy co-exist in cardiac remodeling. However, it is unclear whether oxidative stress mediates maladaptive myocyte autophagy in pathological ventricular remodeling. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that antioxidants prevent maladaptive myocyte autophagy in pressure overload-induced left ventricular (LV) remodeling. Sprague–Dawley rats underwent abdominal aortic constriction (AAC) or sham operation. The animals were randomized to receive an antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or placebo treatment for 2 weeks. We measured LV structure and function by echocardiography and hemodynamics, myocyte autophagy and oxidative stress assessed by 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG). AAC rats exhibited increased LV hypertrophy assessed by LV wall thickness and myocyte cross-sectional area. NAC prevented LV hypertrophy in AAC rats. There were no significant differences in LV fractional shortening, end-diastolic dimension and the maximal rate of LV pressure rise among the groups. AAC rats showed an increase in myocardial 8-OHdG that was prevented by NAC. The expression of LC3 II protein, a marker of autophagy, was increased at 2 weeks after AAC. Immunohistochemical scores further confirmed the increase in LC3 expression in AAC rats. The expression of autophagic proteins Beclin1 and Atg12 and ERK activity were also increased in AAC rats. NAC prevented the increases in LC3 II protein, LC3 scores, Beclin1, Atg12 and ERK activity in AAC rats. Inhibition of autophagy by 3-MA prevented LV hypertrophy after pressure overload. These findings suggest that antioxidants may be of value to prevent pressure overload-induced cardiac remodeling through inhibition of maladaptive myocyte autophagy.

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