Background and aim: Increased vascular resistance is a hallmark of hypertension and involves structural alterations, which may entail smooth muscle cell hypertrophy or hyperplasia, or qualitative or quantitative changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Since the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system modulates these changes, we investigated the effects of 8 weeks of treatment with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, ramipril (RAM), or a dual ACE and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) inhibitor, MDL-100240 (MDL), on mesenteric small artery structure and ECM proteins in mRen2-transgenic rats (TGRs), an animal model of hypertension with severe cardiovascular damage. Materials and methods: Thirty-five 5-week-old rats were included in the study: six TGRs received RAM; five TGRs RAM + the bradykinin receptor inhibitor, icatibant; six TGRs, MDL; and five TGRs MDL+ icatibant, while eight TGRs and five normotensive Sprague-Dawley controls were kept untreated. Mesenteric small arteries were dissected and mounted on a micromyograph. The mediato-lumen ratio (M/L) was then calculated. Vascular metalloproteinase (MMP) content was evaluated by zymography. Results: In untreated TGRs severe hypertension was associated with inward eutrophic remodelling of small arteries. Both RAM and MDL prevented the increase in blood pressure and M/L and decreased MMPs. Icatibant blunted the effect of MDL on BP, M/L and MMPs. Conclusions: Changes in collagenase activity induced by ramipril and MDL are associated with prevention of small artery structural alterations in TGRs. Furthermore, MDL-induced enhancement of bradykinin could play a role in both the prevention of vascular structural alterations and in the stimulation of MMPs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine