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Circ J. 2013;77(10):2619-25. Epub 2013 Aug 3.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with a rho-kinase inhibitor in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine.



We have previously demonstrated that long-term inhibition of Rho-kinase ameliorates pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in animal models. In the present study, we examined the clinical effects of mid-term oral treatment with an extended release formulation of AT-877 (fasudil hydrochloride), a specific Rho-kinase inhibitor (AT-877ER) on PAH.


23 PAH patients were treated with either placebo (10/2 females/males, 51 ± 16 years, idiopathic PAH (IPAH) in 6, PAH associated with connective tissue disease (CTD-PAH) in 3, PAH with congenital heart disease (CHD-PAH) in 2, and portal PAH in 1) or AT-877ER (6/5 females/males, 47 ± 14 years, IPAH in 2, CTD-PAH in 5, and CHD-PAH in 4); 3 patients were excluded. We performed a 6-min walk test and right heart catheterization in the remaining 20 patients, before and 3 months after the treatment (placebo n=11, AT-877ER n=9). Although there were no significant differences between the 2 groups for the 6-min walk distance, pulmonary hemodynamics tended to be improved in the AT-877ER group, especially the prevalence of improved cardiac index from baseline, which was significantly higher in the AT-877ER than in the placebo group. In the AT-877ER group, serum levels of hydroxyfasudil, an active metabolite of AT-877ER tended to correlate with improvements in the cardiac index and mean pulmonary artery pressure.


Mid-term treatment with oral AT-877ER showed additional improvement in pulmonary hemodynamics in patients with PAH. 

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