Novel pathways of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
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INTRODUCTION: Diastolic heart failure (HF) i.e., HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) accounts for ~50% of all clinical HF presentations; but unlike systolic HF i.e., HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), there are no evidenced based therapies. Obesity is commonly associated with HFpEF. However, there exist a sub-group of obese patients that exhibit a higher survival rate to HFpEF as compared to average patients. Hypertension is the most important risk factor for HFpEF, with a prevalence of 60-89% reported by large controlled trials, epidemiological studies and HF registries. HFpEF morbidity and mortality rates are staggering: 50-60% 5 year mortality rate, 50% 6 month rehospitalization rate and severe clinical disability. However, there remains an incomplete mechanistic understanding about HFpEF. OBJECTIVES: We wanted to explore new pathways related to HFpEF in order to better understand the mechamisms behind its pathophysiology. To do so, we first wanted to explore the potential crosstalk between the heart and adipose tissue during HFpEF by analyzing the adipose tissue in our HFpEF model. Secondly, we sought to test the hypothesis that chronic ETA/ETB inhibition with macitentan (mac) modulates pathologic cardiac remodeling in hypertension-induced HFpEF. METHODS: Mice (20-25 g) were anesthetized, underwent uninephrectomy and received either a continuous infusion of saline (sham) or d-aldosterone (0.3 ug/hour for 4-weeks via osmotic minipumps). All mice were maintained on standard rodent chow and 1.0% sodium chloride drinking water for 4 weeks and then harvested. Second group of mice underwent the same surgical procedure and infusion. They were maintained on standard chow for 2 weeks and then each group was randomized to chow containing macitentan (30 mg/kg/day, HFpEFmac) or standard rodent chow. After 2 additional weeks, the 4 groups of mice (n=4-8/group) were harvested. Blood pressure (BP) was obtained weekly. Prior to sacrifice, body weight and echocardiography parameters (total wall thickness (TWT) and relative wall thickness (RWT)) were determined. We also obtained diastolic dysfunction parameters including deceleration time (DT), isovolumetric relaxation time (IVRT), and E/A ratio. Furthermore, we measured organ weight after harvesting the mice and obtained histological images for the adipose tissues collected. Glucose tolerance test and acute cold tolerance test were performed on HFpEF mice to determine their metabolic state. RESULTS: HFpEF mice developed hypertension, LV hypertrophy, and diastolic dysfunction. Epididymal and inguinal adipose tissue showed significantly reduced weight and adipocyte size. HFpEF mice displayed regular glucose metabolism but were not able to endure a cold tolerance test as their body temperature dropped too low. After 4 weeks, there was no difference in body weight between sham, HFpEF, shammac and HFpEFmac. As expected HFpEF increased systolic BP (117±14 vs 133±16mmHg; P=NS); macitentan did not lower systolic BP after 2 weeks in either shammac or HFpEFmac. Similarly there was no difference in systolic BP between HFpEF and HFpEFmac. Both kidney and spleen weights were increased in HFpEF but not altered by macitentan therapy. There was no change in lung congestion as measured by wet-dry lung ratio. HFpEF increased TWT (0.998±0.04 vs. 0.79±0.11 mm; P<0.01 vs. sham) and RWT (0.686± 0.10 vs. 0.476±0.05 mm; P<0.001 vs. sham) but were modulated by macitentan (HFpEF vs. HFpEFmac; P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively). There was no difference in chamber size between HFpEF and HFpEFmac. Similarly, IVRT, DT, left ventricular ejection fraction were no different between HFpEF and and HFpEFmac. Furthermore E/A ratio was increased in HFpEF but was not affected by macitentan CONCLUSIONS: Adipose tissue collected from our HFpEF mice displayed a very different phenotype. This demonstrates that inter-tissue communication is definitely occurring between the adipose tissue and the heart. Further research is required to explore what that communication encompasses and how they can be used to improve HFpEF. Macitentan did not lower systolic BP in sham or mice with HFpEF after the development of hypertension. Diastolic dysfunction, as measured by an increased E/A ratio, was not affected by macitentan. Macitentan significantly modulated TWT and RWT after 2 weeks of therapy. It is thus plausible that macitentan may improve HFpEF by improving adverse cardiac remodeling.