The novel synthetic triterpenoid, bardoxolone methyl, has the ability to upregulate cytoprotective proteins via induction of the nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway. This makes it a promising therapeutic agent in disease states characterized by dysregulated oxidative signalling. We have examined the effect of a Nrf2 activator, dihydro-CDDO-trifluoroethyl amide (DH404), a derivative of bardoxolone methyl, on post-infarct cardiac remodeling in rats.Methods/Results
DH404, administered from day 2 post myocardial infarction (MI: 30 min transient ischemia followed by reperfusion) resulted in almost complete protection against adverse ventricular remodeling as assessed at day 28 (left ventricular end-systolic area: sham 0.14±0.01 cm2, MI vehicle 0.29±0.04 cm2 vs. MI DH404 0.18±0.02 cm2, P<0.05); infarct size (21.3±3.4% MI vehicle vs. 10.9±2.3% MI DH404, P<0.05) with associated benefits on systolic function (fractional shortening: sham 71.9±2.6%, MI vehicle 36.2±1.9% vs. MI DH404 58.6±4.0%, P<0.05). These structural and functional benefits were associated with lower myocardial expression of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP, P<0.01 vs. MI vehicle), and decreased fibronectin (P<0.01 vs. MI vehicle) in DH404-treated MI rats at 28 days. MI increased glutathionylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in vitro - a molecular switch that uncouples the enzyme, increasing superoxide production and decreasing nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. MI-induced eNOS glutathionylation was substantially ameliorated by DH404. An associated increase in glutaredoxin 1 (Grx1) co-immunoprecipitation with eNOS without a change in expression was mechanistically intriguing. Indeed, in parallel in vitro experiments, silencing of Grx1 abolished the protective effect of DH404 against Angiotensin II-induced eNOS uncoupling.Conclusion
The bardoxolone derivative DH404 significantly attenuated cardiac remodeling post MI, at least in part, by re-coupling of eNOS and increasing the functional interaction of Grx1 with eNOS. This agent may have clinical benefits protecting against post MI cardiomyopathy.