Apelin is an inotropic and cardioprotective peptide that exhibits beneficial effects through activation of the APJ receptor in the pathology of cardiovascular diseases. Apelin induces the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in failing hearts, thereby improving heart function in an angiotensin 1–7-dependent manner. Whether apelin antagonizes the over-activation of the renin–angiotensin system in the heart remains elusive. In this study we show that the detrimental effects of angiotensin II (Ang II) were exacerbated in the hearts of aged apelin-gene-deficient mice. Ang II-mediated cardiac dysfunction and hypertrophy were augmented in apelin knockout mice. The loss of apelin increased the ratio of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) to ACE2 expression in the Ang II-stressed hearts, and Ang II-induced cardiac fibrosis was markedly enhanced in apelin knockout mice. mRNA expression of pro-fibrotic genes, such as transforming growth-factor beta (TGF-β) signaling, were significantly upregulated in apelin knockout hearts. Consistently, treatment with the ACE-inhibitor Captopril decreased cardiac contractility in apelin knockout mice. In vitro, apelin ameliorated Ang II-induced TGF-β expression in primary cardiomyocytes, accompanied with reduced hypertrophy. These results provide direct evidence that endogenous apelin plays a crucial role in suppressing Ang II-induced cardiac dysfunction and pathological remodeling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry