Nitrite exerts antioxidant effects, inhibits the mTOR pathway and reverses hypertension-induced cardiac hypertrophy

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Cardiac hypertrophy is a common consequence of chronic hypertension and leads to heart failure and premature death. The anion nitrite is now considered as a bioactive molecule able to exert beneficial cardiovascular effects. Previous results showed that nitrite attenuates hypertension-induced increases in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the vasculature. Whether antioxidant effects induced by nitrite block critical signaling pathways involved in cardiac hypertrophy induced by hypertension has not been determined yet. The Akt/mTOR signaling pathway is responsible to activate protein synthesis during cardiac remodeling and is activated by increased ROS production, which is commonly found in hypertension. Here, we investigated the effects of nitrite treatment on cardiac remodeling and activation of this hypertrophic signaling pathway in 2 kidney-1 clip (2K1C) hypertension. Sham and 2K1C rats were treated with oral nitrite at 1 or 15mg/kg for four weeks. Nitrite treatment (15mg/kg) reduced systolic blood pressure and decreased ROS production in the heart tissue from hypertensive rats. This nitrite dose also blunted hypertension-induced activation of mTOR pathway and cardiac hypertrophy. While the lower nitrite dose (1mg/kg) did not affect blood pressure, it exerted antioxidant effects and tended to attenuate mTOR pathway activation and cardiac hypertrophy induced by hypertension. Our findings provide strong evidence that nitrite treatment decreases cardiac remodeling induced by hypertension as a result of its antioxidant effects and downregulation of mTOR signaling pathway. This study may help to establish nitrite as an effective therapy in hypertension-induced cardiac hypertrophic remodeling.

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