Objectives: Apelin-13 was recently proposed as an alternative to the recommended β-adrenergic drugs for supporting endotoxin-induced myocardial dysfunction. Since Apelin-13 signals through its receptor (Apelin peptide jejunum) to exert singular inotropic/vasotropic actions and to optimize body fluid balance, this candidate pathway might benefit septic shock management. Whether the newly discovered ELABELA (ELA), a second endogenous ligand of the Apelin peptide jejunum receptor highly expressed in the kidney, further improves cardio-renal impairment remains unknown.
Design, setting, and subjects: Interventional study in a rat model of septic shock (128 adult males) to assess the effects of ELA and Apelin-13 on vascular and cardio-renal function. Experiments were performed in a tertiary care University-based research institute.
Interventions: Polymicrobial sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction was produced by cecal ligation puncture to assess hemodynamic efficacy, cardioprotection, and biomechanics under acute or continuous infusions of the apelinergic agonists ELA or Apelin-13 (39 and 15 µg/kg/hr, respectively) versus normal saline.
Measurements and main results: Apelinergic agonists improved 72-hour survival after sepsis induction, with ELA providing the best clinical outcome after 24 hours. Apelinergic agonist infusion counteracted cecal ligation puncture-induced myocardial dysfunction by improving left ventricular pressure-volume relationship. ELA-treated cecal ligation puncture rats were the only group to 1) display a significant improvement in left ventricular filling as shown by increased E-wave velocity and left ventricular end-diastolic volume, 2) exhibit a higher plasma volume, and 3) limit kidney injury and free-water clearance. These beneficial renal effects were superior to Apelin-13, likely because full-length ELA enabled a distinctive regulation of pituitary vasopressin release.
Conclusions: Activation of the apelinergic system by exogenous ELA or Apelin-13 infusion improves cardiovascular function and survival after cecal ligation puncture-induced sepsis. However, ELA proved better than Apelin-13 by improving fluid homeostasis, cardiovascular hemodynamics recovery, and limiting kidney dysfunction in a vasopressinergic-dependent manner.