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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Oct;291(4):H1972-7. Epub 2006 Jun 2.

Selective inhibition of p38alpha MAPK improves cardiac function and reduces myocardial apoptosis in rat model of myocardial injury.

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  • 1Scios Inc., 6500 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94555, USA.


p38 MAPK is activated during heart diseases that might associate with myocardial damage and deterioration of cardiac function. In a rat model of myocardial injury, we have investigated cardioprotective effects of the inhibition of p38 MAPK using a novel, orally available p38alpha MAPK inhibitor. Rats were treated with N(omega)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME, 40 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)) in drinking water plus 1% salt for 14 days and ANG II (0.5 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)) for 3 days. A selective p38alpha MAPK inhibitor, SD-282 (60 mg/kg), was administrated orally, twice a day for 4 days, starting 1 day before ANG II administration. The cardioprotective effects of p38alpha MAPK inhibition were evaluated by improvement of cardiac function, reduction of inflammatory cell infiltration, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. SD-282 significantly improved cardiac function indicated by increasing stroke volume, cardiac output, ejection fraction, and stroke work and significantly decreasing arterial elastance. SD-282 also significantly reduced macrophage infiltration as judged by reduction of a specific marker, ED-1-positive staining cells (P < 0.05) in the myocardium. Furthermore, cardiomyocyte apoptosis as indicated by caspase-3 immunohistochemical staining was abolished by SD-282, and this effect may contribute to the reduction of myocardial damage evaluated by imaging analysis (P < 0.05 in both cases). Data suggest that p38alpha MAPK may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of cardiac dysfunction. Inhibition of p38alpha MAPK may be used as a novel cardioprotective strategy in attenuation of inflammatory response and deterioration of cardiac function that occurs in acute cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction.

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