Renal denervation (RDN) protects against hypertension, hypertrophy, and heart failure (HF); however, it is not clear whether RDN preserves ejection fraction (EF) during heart failure (HFpEF). To test this hypothesis, we simulated a chronic congestive cardiopulmonary heart failure (CHF) phenotype by creating an aorta-vena cava fistula (AVF) in the C57BL/6J wild type (WT) mice. Briefly, there are four ways to create an experimental CHF: (1) myocardial infarction (MI), which is basically ligating the coronary artery by instrumenting and injuring the heart; (2) trans-aortic constriction (TAC) method, which mimics the systematic hypertension, but again constricts the aorta on top of the heart and, in fact, exposes the heart; (3) acquired CHF condition, promoted by dietary factors, diabetes, salt, diet, etc., but is multifactorial in nature; and finally, (4) the AVF, which remains the only one wherein AVF is created ~1 cm below the kidneys in which the aorta and vena cava share the common middle-wall. By creating the AVF fistula, the red blood contents enter the vena cava without an injury to the cardiac tissue. This model mimics or simulates the CHF phenotype, for example, during aging wherein with advancing age, the preload volume keeps increasing beyond the level that the aging heart can pump out due to the weakened cardiac myocytes. Furthermore, this procedure also involves the right ventricle to lung to left ventricle flow, thus creating an ideal condition for congestion. The heart in AVF transitions from preserved to reduced EF (i.e., HFpEF to HFrEF). In fact, there are more models of volume overload, such as the pacing-induced and mitral valve regurgitation, but these are also injurious models in nature. Our laboratory is one of the first laboratories to create and study the AVF phenotype in the animals. The RDN was created by treating the cleaned bilateral renal artery. After 6 weeks, blood, heart, and renal samples were analyzed for exosome, cardiac regeneration markers, and the renal cortex proteinases. Cardiac function was analyzed by echocardiogram (ECHO) procedure. The fibrosis was analyzed with a trichrome staining method. The results suggested that there was a robust increase in the exosomes' level in AVF blood, suggesting a compensatory systemic response during AVF-CHF. During AVF, there was no change in the cardiac eNOS, Wnt1, or β-catenin; however, during RDN, there were robust increases in the levels of eNOS, Wnt1, and β-catenin compared to the sham group. As expected in HFpEF, there was perivascular fibrosis, hypertrophy, and pEF. Interestingly, increased levels of eNOS suggested that despite fibrosis, the NO generation was higher and that it most likely contributed to pEF during HF. The RDN intervention revealed an increase in renal cortical caspase 8 and a decrease in caspase 9. Since caspase 8 is protective and caspase 9 is apoptotic, we suggest that RDN protects against the renal stress and apoptosis. It should be noted that others have demonstrated a role of vascular endothelium in preserving the ejection by cell therapy intervention. In the light of foregoing evidence, our findings also suggest that RDN is cardioprotective during HFpEF via preservation of the eNOS and accompanied endocardial-endothelial function.
Keywords: antioxidant molecules; cardiac activity; cardiac health; mechanism of heart failure.