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Hypertension. 2008 Feb;51(2):296-301. Epub 2007 Dec 24.

Beneficial effects of pioglitazone on hypertensive cardiovascular injury are enhanced by combination with candesartan.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Therapeutics, Kumamoto University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, 1-1-1 Honjyo, Kumamoto 860-8556, Japan.


The effect of pioglitazone, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma agonist, on hypertensive cardiovascular injury is unknown. We examined the effect of pioglitazone on hypertensive cardiovascular injury and the significance of combination of pioglitazone with angiotensin type 1 receptor blocker. Stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) were orally given pioglitazone, candesartan, or combined pioglitazone and candesartan for 4 weeks to compare their effects on cardiovascular injury. Pioglitazone, without lowering blood pressure, significantly suppressed cardiac inflammation and fibrosis and reduced vascular endothelial dysfunction, and these beneficial effects were associated with the reduction of superoxide by inhibition of cardiovascular NADPH oxidase. Thus, pioglitazone protects against hypertensive cardiovascular injury, by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS). Combination of pioglitazone and candesartan suppressed cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, and interstitial fibrosis of SHRSP to a greater extent than either monotherapy, and reduced vascular endothelial dysfunction of SHRSP more than either monotherapy. Furthermore, more beneficial effects of their combination on cardiovascular injury were associated with more reduction of NADPH oxidase-mediated cardiovascular ROS. To elucidate the underlying molecular mechanism, we examined cardiovascular NADPH oxidase subunits. Pioglitazone monotherapy significantly attenuated cardiovascular p22(phox) and Rac1 in SHRSP, whereas pioglitazone combined with candesartan more attenuated p22(phox) and significantly reduced Nox1. Thus, additive suppression of cardiovascular NADPH oxidase by the combination was attributed to its additive attenuation of p22(phox) and Nox1 protein levels. In conclusion, we showed that pioglitazone protected against hypertensive cardiovascular damage, and the combination of pioglitazone and candesartan exerted more beneficial effects on hypertensive cardiovascular injury by more suppressing ROS.

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