Inhibition of Rho-kinase Attenuates Left Ventricular Remodeling Caused by Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia in Rats via Suppressing Myocardial Inflammation and Apoptosis
Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), the hallmark of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), has been reported to play a key role in the development of OSAS-associated cardiovascular diseases including cardiac remodeling. RhoA/Rho-kinase (ROCK) pathway has also been implicated in myocardial remodeling, but the exact mechanisms are not fully elucidated. This study's purpose is to investigate the influence of fasudil, a selective ROCK inhibitor, on CIH-induced left ventricular remodeling in rats and its possible mechanisms. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats suffered from CIH or normoxia stimulus and were intervened with vehicle or fasudil (10 mg·kg−1·d−1, intraperitoneal injection) for 6 weeks. In this study, treatment with fasudil significantly reversed intermittent hypoxia-induced histopathological transformations and ultrastructural changes in rat myocardium. Moreover, fasudil downregulated the protein levels of RhoA and phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase targeting subunit-1 (MYPT1), thus effectively inhibited the activation of RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway. Simultaneously, activity of nuclear factor (NF)-kB was suppressed by fasudil, which was accompanied by reduced NF-kB downstream inflammatory genes including interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-a and monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and apoptosis. These results suggest that fasudil attenuates myocardial remodeling in CIH rats, at least partly by suppressing activation of NF-kB. Inhibition of the RhoA/ROCK pathway could become an important therapeutic target in the prevention of OSAS-related cardiomyopathy.