Central Antihypertensive Effects of Orally Active Aminopeptidase A Inhibitors in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats

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Brain renin-angiotensin system hyperactivity has been implicated in the development and maintenance of hypertension. We reported previously in the brain that aminopeptidase A and aminopeptidase N are involved in the metabolism of angiotensin II and angiotensin III, respectively. By using in vivo specific and selective aminopeptidase A and aminopeptidase N inhibitors, we showed that angiotensin III is one of the main effector peptides of the brain renin-angiotensin system, exerting a tonic stimulatory control more than blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Aminopeptidase A, the enzyme generating brain angiotensin III, thus represents a potential target for the treatment of hypertension. We demonstrated here the antihypertensive effects of RB150, a prodrug of the specific and selective aminopeptidase A inhibitor, EC33, in spontaneously hypertensive rats, a model of human essential hypertension. Oral administration of RB150 in conscious spontaneously hypertensive rats inhibited brain aminopeptidase A activity, demonstrating the central bioavailability of RB150 and its ability to generate EC33 into the brain. Oral RB150 treatment dose-dependently reduced blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats with an ED50 of 30 mg/kg, lasting for several hours. This decrease in blood pressure is partly attributed to a decrease in sympathetic tone, reducing vascular resistance. This treatment did not modify systemic renin-angiotensin system activity. Concomitant oral administration of RB150 with a systemic renin-angiotensin system blocker, enalapril, potentiated the RB150-induced blood pressure decrease achieved in <2 hours. Thus, RB150 may be the prototype of a new class of centrally active antihypertensive agents that might be used in combination with classic systemic renin-angiotensin system blockers to improve blood pressure control.

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