Aim: We have demonstrated that short-term angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition in adult spontaneously hypertensive rats produces cardiac changes that persist following cessation of treatment that result in a reduced inflammatory, proliferative and fibrotic response to the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nω-Nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). The present study examines whether prior ACE inhibition with enalapril also protects against L-NAME-induced cardiac dysfunction. Methods: Rats were treated with enalapril (Enal + L) or tap water (Con, Con + L) for 2 weeks followed by a 2-week washout period. At this point, Con + L and Enal + L rats were treated with L-NAME for 10 days. Hearts were perfused in the working mode, mean arterial pressure (MAP) was assessed via radiotelemetry, and myocardial injury was evaluated in hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections. Results: L-NAME increased MAP by a similar magnitude in Con + L and Enal + L. L-NAME-induced statistically significant decreases in flow-mediated functional parameters in Con + L rats including cardiac output, stroke volume and coronary flow. This was prevented by prior enalapril treatment. Prior enalapril did not prevent L-NAME-induced myocardial injury, but may have lessened the degree of it. Regardless of treatment, changes in cardiac function did not correlate with myocardial injury. Conclusion: Despite equivalent impact on MAP and incidence of myocardial infarction, prior enalapril treatment resulted in the preservation of cardiac function following L-NAME. Understanding the mechanisms by which transient ACE inhibition protects against reductions in cardiac function in the absence of ongoing treatment may reveal novel targets for heart failure treatment.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor
- Arterial pressure
- Cardiac output
- Cardiac remodelling
- Spontaneously hypertensive rat
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