Arterial Remodeling and Dysfunction in the ZSF1 Rat Model of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

Sara Leite, Rui J. Cerqueira, Jaime Ibarrola, Dulce Fontoura, Amaya Fernández-Celis, Faiez Zannad, Inês Falcão-Pires, Walter J. Paulus, Adelino F. Leite-Moreira, Patrick Rossignol, Natalia López-Andrés, André P. Lourenço

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Background: The interplay between the stiffened heart and vessels has long been viewed as a core mechanism in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, but the incremental vascular molecular remodeling mechanisms from systemic arterial hypertension to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction remain poorly investigated. Our aim was to characterize central arterial remodeling and dysfunction in ZSF1 obese rats and to compare it with hypertensive ZSF1 lean and healthy Wistar-Kyoto controls. Methods and Results: Twenty-week-old male ZSF1 obese (n=9), lean (n=9), and Wistar-Kyoto rats (n=9) underwent left ventricular pressure-volume loop evaluation and synchronous acquisition of ascending aortic flow and pressure. Aortic rings underwent functional evaluation, histology, and molecular biology studies. Although mean arterial pressure, characteristic aortic impedance, and reactivity to phenylephrine were similarly increased in hypertensive ZSF1 lean and obese, only ZSF1 obese showed impaired relaxation and upward-shifted end-diastolic pressure-volume relationships despite preserved systolic function indexes, denoting heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. ZSF1 obese phenotype further showed decreased aortic compliance, increased wave reflection, and impaired direct NO donor and endothelial-mediated vasodilation which were accompanied on structural and molecular grounds by aortic media thickening, higher collagen content and collagen/elastin ratio, increased fibronectin and -5 integrin protein expression and upregulated TGF (transforming growth factor)-β and CTGF (connective tissue growth factor) levels. Conclusions: Functional, molecular, and structural disturbances of central vessels and their potentially underlying pathways were newly characterized in experimental heart failure with preserved ejection fraction rendering the ZSF1 obese rat model suitable for preclinical testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere005596
JournalCirculation. Heart failure
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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