A novel urotensin II receptor antagonist, KR-36996, improved cardiac function and attenuated cardiac hypertrophy in experimental heart failure

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Urotensin II and its receptor are thought to be involved in various cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and atherosclerosis. Since the regulation of the urotensin II/urotensin II receptor offers a great potential for therapeutic strategies related to the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, the study of selective and potent antagonists for urotensin II receptor is more fascinating. This study was designed to determine the potential therapeutic effects of a newly developed novel urotensin II receptor antagonist, N-(1-(3-bromo-4-(piperidin-4-yloxy)benzyl)piperidin-4-yl)benzo[b]thiophene-3-carboxamide (KR-36996), in experimental models of heart failure. KR-36996 displayed a high binding affinity (Ki=4.44±0.67 nM) and selectivity for urotensin II receptor. In cell-based study, KR-36996 significantly inhibited urotensin II-induced stress fiber formation and cellular hypertrophy in H9c2UT cells. In transverse aortic constriction-induced cardiac hypertrophy model in mice, the daily oral administration of KR-36996 (30 mg/kg) for 14 days significantly decreased left ventricular weight by 40% (P<0.05). In myocardial infarction-induced chronic heart failure model in rats, repeated echocardiography and hemodynamic measurements demonstrated remarkable improvement of the cardiac performance by KR-36996 treatment (25 and 50 mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 12 weeks. Moreover, KR-36996 decreased interstitial fibrosis and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in the infarct border zone. These results suggest that potent and selective urotensin II receptor antagonist could efficiently attenuate both cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction in experimental heart failure. KR-36996 may be useful as an effective urotensin II receptor antagonist for pharmaceutical or clinical applications.

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