An increase in angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity has been observed in the heart after myocardial infarction (MI). Since most studies have been conducted in chronically infarcted individuals exhibiting variable degrees of heart failure, the present study was designed to determine ACE activity in an earlier phase of MI, before heart failure development. MI was produced in 3-month old male Wistar rats by ligation of the anterior branches of the left coronary artery, control rats underwent sham surgery and the animals were studied 7 or 15 days later. Hemodynamic data obtained for the anesthetized animals showed normal values of arterial blood pressure and of end-diastolic pressure in the right and left ventricular cavities of MI rats. Right and left ventricular (RV, LV) muscle and scar tissue homogenates were prepared to determine ACE activity in vitro by measuring the velocity of His-Leu release from the synthetic substrate Hyp-His-Leu. ACE activity was corrected to the tissue wet weight and is reported as nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 . No significant change in ACE activity in the RV homogenates was demonstrable. A small nonsignificant increase of ACE activity (11 ± 9%; P>0.05) was observed 7 days after MI in the surviving left ventricular muscle. Two weeks after surgery, however, ACE activity was 46 ± 11% (P<0.05) higher in infarcted rats compared to sham-operated rats. The highest ACE activity was demonstrable in the scar tissue homogenate. In rats studied two weeks after surgery, ACE activity in the LV muscle increased from 105 ± 7 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 in control hearts to 153 ± 11 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 (P<0.05) in the remaining LV muscle of MI rats and to 1051 ± 208 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 (P<0.001) in the fibrous scar. These data indicate that ACE activity increased in the heart after infarction before heart failure was demonstrable by hemodynamic measurements. Since the blood vessels of the scar drain to the remaining LV myocardium, the high ACE activity present in the fibrous scar may increase the angiotensin II concentration and decrease bradykinin in the cardiac tissues surrounding the infarcted area. The increased angiotensin II in the fibrous scar may contribute to the reactive fibrosis and hypertrophy in the left ventricular muscle surviving infarction.
The excessive stimulation of beta-adrenergic receptors in the heart induces myocardial hypertrophy. There are several experimental data suggesting that this hypertrophy may also depend, at least partially, on the increase of local production of angiotensin II secondary to the activation of the cardiac renin-angiotensin system. In this study we investigated the effects of isoproterenol on the activity of angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE) in the heart and also in the aorta and plasma. Male Wistar rats weighing 250 to 305 g were treated with a dose of (±)-isoproterenol (0.3 mg kg -1 day -1 , N = 8) sufficient to produce cardiac hypertrophy without deleterious effects on the pumping capacity of the heart. Control rats (N = 7) were treated with vehicle (corn oil). The animals were killed one week later. ACE activity was determined in vitro in the four cardiac chambers, aorta and plasma by a fluorimetric assay. A significant hypertrophy was observed in both ventricular chambers. ACE activity in the atria remained constant after isoproterenol treatment. There was a significant increase (P<0.05) of ACE activity in the right ventricle (6.9 ± 0.9 to 8.2 ± 0.6 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 ) and in the left ventricle (6.4 ± 1.1 to 8.9 ± 0.8 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 ). In the aorta, however, ACE activity decreased (P<0.01) after isoproterenol (41 ± 3 to 27 ± 2 nmol His-Leu g -1 min -1 ) while it remained unchanged in the plasma. These data suggest that ACE expression in the heart can be increased by stimulation of betaadrenoceptors. However, this effect is not observed on other local renin-angiotensin systems, such as the aorta. Our data also suggest that the increased sympathetic discharge and the elevated plasma concentration of catecholamines may contribute to the upregulation of ACE expression in the heart after myocardial infarction and heart failure.
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