Objectives: Increased sympathetic outflow, renin-angiotensin system (RAS) activity, and oxidative stress are critical mechanisms underlying the adverse cardiovascular effects of dietary salt excess. Nebivolol is a third-generation, highly selective β1-receptor blocker with RAS-reducing effects and additional antioxidant properties. This study evaluated the hypothesis that nebivolol reduces salt-induced cardiac remodeling and dysfunction in spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHRs) by suppressing cardiac RAS and oxidative stress.
Methods: Male SHRs (8 weeks of age) were given an 8% high salt diet (HSD; n = 22), whereas their age-matched controls (n = 10) received standard chow. In a subgroup of HSD rats (n = 11), nebivolol was given at a dose of 10 mg/kg per day by gastric gavage.
Results: After 5 weeks, HSD exacerbated hypertension as well as increased left-ventricular weight and collagen deposition while impairing left-ventricular relaxation. Salt-induced cardiac remodeling and dysfunction were associated with increased plasma renin concentration (PRC), cardiac angiotensin II immunostaining, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)/ACE2 mRNA and activity ratio. HSD also increased cardiac 3-nitrotyrosine staining indicating enhanced oxidative stress. Nebivolol treatment did not alter the salt-induced increase in arterial pressure, left-ventricular weight, and cardiac dysfunction but reduced PRC, cardiac angiotensin II immunostaining, ACE/ACE2 ratio, oxidative stress, and fibrosis.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that nebivolol, in a blood pressure-independent manner, ameliorated cardiac oxidative stress and associated fibrosis in salt-loaded SHRs. The beneficial effects of nebivolol may be attributed, at least in part, to the decreased ACE/ACE2 ratio and consequent reduction of cardiac angiotensin II levels.