Background: Chymase generates angiotensin II (ANG II) independently of angiotensin-converting enzyme in tissues and it contributes to vascular remodeling and development of hypertension, however the exact mechanism of its action is unclear. Methods: Hence, the effects of chymase inhibition were examined in anesthetized spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) in two stages of the disease development, ie. pre-hypertensive (SHR7) and with established hypertension (SHR16). Chymostatin, a commercial chymase inhibitor, was infused intravenously alone or in subsequent groups co-infused with captopril. Results: Mean blood pressure (MBP), total renal blood flow (RBF) and ANG II content (plasma and tissues) were measured. In SHR16 chymase blockade significantly decreased MBP (-6%) and plasma (-38%), kidney (-71%) and heart (-52%) ANG II levels. In SHR7 chymostatin did not influence MBP or RBF, but significantly decreased heart ANG II level. Conclusion: Jointly, functional studies and ANG II determinations support the evidence that in SHR chymase can raise plasma ANG II and contribute to blood pressure elevation. We propose that addition of chymase blockade to ACE inhibition could be a promising approach in the treatment of hypertensive patients resistant to therapy with ACE-inhibitors alone.
Keywords: Chymase; angiotensin II; chymostatin; hypertension; renal blood flow; renin-angiotensin system; spontaneously hypertensive rats.