Background: In is generally held that renal failure results in blood pressure (BP)-independent structural changes of the myocardium and the vasculature. The contribution, if any, of endothelin (ET) to these changes has been unknown.
Methods: We morphometrically studied random samples of the left ventricle myocardium and small intramyocardial arteries in subtotally (5/6) nephrectomized (SNx) male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with either the selective ETA receptor antagonist BMS182874 (30 mg/kg/day) or the nonselective ETA/ETB receptor antagonist Ro46-2005 (30 mg/kg/day) in comparison with either sham-operated rats, untreated SNx, or SNx rats treated with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor trandolapril (0.1 mg/kg/day).
Results: Eight weeks later, systolic BP was lower in trandolapril-treated SNx compared with untreated SNx animals. No decrease in BP was seen following either ET receptor antagonist at the dose used. A significantly increased volume density of the myocardial interstitium was found in untreated SNx rats as compared with sham-operated controls. Such interstitial expansion was prevented by trandolapril and either ET receptor antagonist. SNx caused a substantial increase in the wall thickness of small intramyocardial arteries. The increase was prevented by trandolapril or BMS182874 treatment. The arteriolar wall:lumen ratio was significantly lower in all treated groups when compared with untreated SNx. In contrast, only trandolapril, but not the ET receptor antagonists, attenuated thickening of the aortic media in SNx animals.
Conclusions: The ETA-selective and ETA/ETB-nonselective receptor antagonists appear to prevent development of myocardial fibrosis and structural changes of small intramyocardial arteries in experimental chronic renal failure. This effect is independent of systemic BP.