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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The renin-angiotensin system and volume overload-induced changes in cardiac collagen and elastin.

BACKGROUND: Besides cardiac load, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and aldosterone may regulate collagen accumulation during maturation or hypertrophic growth. The effect of cardiac volume overload on both left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) collagen and elastin and the possible role of the RAS in such changes have not yet been assessed. METHODS AND RESULTS: In the present study we assessed (1) the effects of 4 to 10 weeks of volume overload by an aortocaval shunt or minoxidil on LV and RV collagen and elastin and (2) the potential of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril and the angiotensin II receptor blocker losartan to prevent and regress volume overload-induced changes in cardiac collagen and elastin. Cardiac volume overload by aortocaval shunt or minoxidil treatment decreased LV collagen accumulation as compared with control rats. In contrast, RV collagen accumulation was potentiated during the initial weeks but not during chronic aortocaval shunt. Enalapril and losartan prevented the relative decreases in LV collagen content and concentration induced by a shunt. Losartan also reversed the decrease in LV collagen content by aortocaval shunt. Neither blocker significantly affected the enhanced RV collagen accumulation during the initial weeks of shunt, but both blockers further potentiated RV collagen accumulation during chronic volume overload. Aortocaval shunt for 4 weeks but not 10 weeks enhanced LV and RV elastin accumulation. This initial increase in LV and RV elastin content was blocked by both enalapril and losartan. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac volume overload, even when accompanied by increased plasma renin activity, decreases LV collagen accumulation, suggesting that in contrast to the stimulatory effect of systolic wall stress, increased diastolic wall stress inhibits collagen accumulation. In support of this concept, enalapril and losartan decreased LV preload and maintained LV collagen accumulation. In contrast to LV collagen, RV collagen accumulation was potentiated during the initial weeks of volume overload, possibly related to acute RV pressure overload shortly after aortocaval shunt and its decrease with chronic shunt. Enalapril and losartan had minimal effect on the enhanced RV collagen during the initial weeks of aortocaval shunt but potentiated RV collagen during chronic shunt, possibly by decreasing RV diastolic pressures. Altogether, these data suggest that during cardiac volume overload, the RAS affects cardiac collagen primarily by its hemodynamic effects. The RAS, however, may potentiate RV and LV elastin accumulation during the initial weeks of volume overload since both enalapril and losartan block this increase.[1]


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