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Circulation. 2011 Mar 29;123(12):1297-305. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.981720. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Long-term cardiac pro-B-type natriuretic peptide gene delivery prevents the development of hypertensive heart disease in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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  • 1Molecular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Diastolic dysfunction associated with high blood pressure (BP) leads to cardiac remodeling and fibrosis and progression to congestive heart failure. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) has BP-lowering, antifibrotic, and antihypertrophic properties, which makes BNP an attractive agent for attenuating the adverse cardiac remodeling associated with hypertension. In the current study, we tested the effects of sustained cardiac proBNP gene delivery on BP, cardiac function, and remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).


We used the myocardium-tropic adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vector to achieve continuously enhanced cardiac rat proBNP expression. In SHR, a single systemic administration of AAV9 vector allowed long-term cardiac BNP overexpression, resulting in reductions in systolic and diastolic BP for 9 months after injection. Left ventricular (LV) thickness, LV end-systolic dimensions, and LV mass were reduced, whereas ejection fraction was significantly increased, in BNP-treated compared with untreated SHR. Circumferential systolic strain and strain rate of the early phase of diastole were improved in BNP-treated compared with untreated SHR. Noncardiac overexpression of BNP via AAV2 vector was not associated with changes in BP and plasma BNP in SHR. Furthermore, normal Wistar rats injected with AAV9 proBNP vector showed significantly reduced heart weights 4 weeks after injection without BP reduction.


AAV9 vector facilitates sustained cardiac proBNP overexpression and improves LV function in hypertensive heart disease. Long-term proBNP delivery improved both systolic and diastolic function. The effects on cardiac structure and function occurred independently of BP-lowering effects in normal Wistar rats.

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