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J Mol Med (Berl). 2013 Jul;91(7):811-23. doi: 10.1007/s00109-013-1034-0. Epub 2013 May 1.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 inhibition improves cardiac function and remodelling after myocardial infarction and in experimental metabolic syndrome.

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Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR) and Institute of Pharmacology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Hessische Strasse 3-4, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


The cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are expressed in the heart, but their role under pathological conditions remains controversial. This study examined the effect of CB1 receptor blockade on cardiovascular functions after experimental MI and in experimental metabolic syndrome. MI was induced in Wistar rats by permanent ligation of the left coronary artery. Treatment with the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant (10 mg/kg i.p. daily) started 7 days before or 6 h after MI and continued for 6 weeks. Haemodynamic parameters were measured via echocardiography and intracardiac Samba catheter. CB1 blockade improved systolic and diastolic heart function, decreased cardiac collagen and hydroxyproline content and down-regulated TGF-β1. Additionally, rimonabant decreased arterial stiffness, normalised QRS complex duration and reduced brain natriuretic peptide levels in serum. In primary cardiac fibroblasts, rimonabant decreased MMP-9 activity and TGF-β1 expression. Furthermore, rimonabant improved depressed systolic function of spontaneously hypertensive obese rats and reduced weight gain. Blocking of CB1 receptor with rimonabant improves cardiac functions in the early and late stages after MI, decreases arterial stiffness and reduces cardiac remodelling. Rimonabant also has cardioprotective actions in rats characterised by the metabolic syndrome. Inhibition of proteolysis and TGF-β1 expression and reduced collagen content by rimonabant may attenuate destruction of the extracellular matrix and decrease fibrosis after MI.

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