Azilsartan ameliorates diabetic cardiomyopathy in young db/db mice through the modulation of ACE-2/ANG 1–7/Mas receptor cascade
Hyperglycemia up-regulates intracellular angiotensin II (ANG-II) production in cardiac myocytes. This study investigated the hemodynamic and metabolic effects of azilsartan (AZL) treatment in a mouse model of diabetic cardiomyopathy and whether the cardioprotective effects of AZL are mediated by the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-2/ANG 1–7/Mas receptor (R) cascade. Control db/+ and db/db mice (n = 5 per group) were treated with vehicle or AZL (1 or 3 mg/kg/d oral gavage) from the age of 8 to 16 weeks. Echocardiography was then performed and myocardial protein levels of ACE-2, Mas R, AT1R, AT2R, osteopontin, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and nitrotyrosine were measured by Western blotting. Oxidative DNA damage and inflammatory markers were assessed by immunofluorescence of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin 6 (IL-6). Compared with db/+ mice, the vehicle-treated db/db mice developed obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and diastolic dysfunction along with cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. AZL treatment lowered blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and reduced peak plasma glucose during an oral glucose tolerance test. AZL-3 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in the expression of cytokines, oxidative DNA damage and cardiac dysfunction. Moreover, AZL-3 treatment significantly abrogated the downregulation of ACE-2 and Mas R protein levels in db/db mice. Furthermore, AZL treatment significantly reduced cardiac fibrosis, hypertrophy and their marker molecules (osteopontin, CTGF, TGF-β1 and ANP). Short-term treatment with AZL-3 reversed abnormal cardiac structural remodeling and partially improved glucose metabolism in db/db mice by modulating the ACE-2/ANG 1–7/Mas R pathway.