Hypertension induces vascular alterations that are associated with up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). While these alterations may be blunted by doxycycline, a non-selective MMPs inhibitor, no previous study has examined the effects of different doses of doxycycline on these alterations. This is important because doxycycline has been used at sub-antimicrobial doses, and the use of lower doses may prevent the emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. We studied the effects of doxycycline at 3, 10 and 30 mg/kg per day on the vascular alterations found in the rat two kidney-one clip (2K1C) hypertension (n = 20 rats/group). Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was monitored during 4 weeks of treatment. We assessed endothelium-dependent and independent relaxations. Quantitative morphometry of structural changes in the aortic wall was studied, and aortic MMP-2 levels/proteolytic activity were determined by gelatin and in situ zymography, respectively. All treatments attenuated the increases in SBP in hypertensive rats (195.4 ± 3.9 versus 177.2 ± 6.2, 176.3 ± 4.5, and 173 ± 5.1 mmHg in 2K1C hypertensive rats treated with vehicle, or doxycycline at 3, 10, 30 mg/kg per day, respectively (all p < 0.01). However, only the highest dose prevented 2K1C-induced reduction in endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation (p < 0.05), vascular hypertrophy and increases in MMP-2 levels (all p < 0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that relatively lower doses of doxycycline do not attenuate the vascular alterations found in the 2K1C hypertension model, and only the highest dose of doxycycline affects MMPs and vascular structure. Our results support the idea that the effects of doxycycline on MMP-2 and vascular structure are pressure independent.
© 2010 The Authors. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology © 2010 Nordic Pharmacological Society.