Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) can arise from cardiac and vascular remodeling processes following long-lasting hypertension. Efficacy of common HF therapeutics is unsatisfactory in HFpEF. Evidence suggests that stimulators of the nitric oxide–sensitive soluble guanylyl cyclase (NOsGC) could be of use here. We aimed to characterize the complex cardiovascular effects of NOsGC stimulation using NO-independent stimulator BAY 41-8543 in a double-transgenic rat (dTGR) model of HFpEF. We show a drastically improved survival rate of treated dTGR. We observed less cardiac fibrosis, macrophage infiltration, and gap junction remodeling in treated dTGR. Microarray analysis revealed that treatment of dTGR corrected the dysregulateion of cardiac genes associated with fibrosis, inflammation, apoptosis, oxidative stress, and ion channel function toward an expression profile similar to healthy controls. Treatment reduced systemic blood pressure levels and improved endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of resistance vessels. Further comprehensive in vivo phenotyping showed an improved diastolic cardiac function, improved hemodynamics, and less susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias. Short-term BAY 41-8543 application in isolated untreated transgenic hearts with structural remodeling significantly reduced the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias, suggesting a direct nongenomic role of NOsGC stimulation on excitation. Thus, NOsGC stimulation was highly effective in improving several HFpEF facets in this animal model, underscoring its potential value for patients.
Nicola Wilck, Lajos Markó, András Balogh, Kristin Kräker, Florian Herse, Hendrik Bartolomaeus, István A. Szijártó, Maik Gollasch, Nadine Reichhart, Olaf Strauss, Arnd Heuser, Damian Brockschnieder, Axel Kretschmer, Ralf Lesche, Florian Sohler, Johannes-Peter Stasch, Peter Sandner, Friedrich C. Luft, Dominik N. Müller, Ralf Dechend, Nadine Haase