Exploiting cGMP-based therapies for the prevention of left ventricular hypertrophy: NO* and beyond

Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Dec;124(3):279-300. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.08.001. Epub 2009 Aug 29.


Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), an increased left ventricular (LV) mass, is common to many cardiovascular disorders, initially developing as an adaptive response to maintain myocardial function. In the longer term, this LV remodelling becomes maladaptive, with progressive decline in LV contractility and diastolic function. Indeed LVH is recognised as an important blood-pressure independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The clinical efficacy of current treatments for LVH is reduced, however, by their tendency to slow disease progression rather than induce its reversal, and thus the development of new therapies for LVH is paramount. The signalling molecule cyclic guanosine-3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP), well-recognised for its role in regulating vascular tone, is now being increasingly identified as an important anti-hypertrophic mediator. This review is focused on the various means by which cGMP can be stimulated in the heart, such as via the natriuretic peptides, to exert anti-hypertrophic actions. In particular we address the limitations of traditional nitric oxide (NO*) donors in the face of the potential therapeutic advantages offered by novel alternatives; NO* siblings, ligands of the cGMP-generating enzymes, soluble (sGC) and particulate guanylyl cyclases (pGC), and phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Further impact of cGMP within the cardiovascular system is also discussed with a view to representing cGMP-based therapies as innovative pharmacotherapy, alone or concurrent with standard care, for the management of LVH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Monoxide / physiology
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology
  • Cyclic GMP / biosynthesis*
  • Guanylate Cyclase / biosynthesis
  • Guanylate Cyclase / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / drug therapy*
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / etiology
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / prevention & control*
  • Natriuretic Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / therapeutic use*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Natriuretic Peptides
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Cyclic GMP