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Hirudin Protects Ang II-Induced Myocardial Fibroblasts Fibrosis by Inhibiting the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase1/2 (ERK1/2) Pathway

Chunxia Yu, Weimin Wang, Xin Jin

(Department of Cardiology, Yantai Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yantai, Shandong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:6264-6272

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.909044

BACKGROUND: Myocardial fibrosis is closely related to all types of cardiovascular diseases. Hirudin is widely used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. In this study, we examined the potential role(s) and mechanism of hirudin in angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced myocardial fibrosis.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The viability of myocardial fibroblasts, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) rates were measured respectively using cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) and flow cytometry. Malondialdehyde (MDA) content, the activities of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were detected by the respective kits. The mRNA and protein levels of fibrosis-related factors were separately assessed by qRT-PCR and western blot.
RESULTS: Our data revealed that hirudin suppressed the viability of myocardial fibroblasts, and that it relieved the proliferation induced by Ang II in a dose-dependent manner. We also found that hirudin reduced ROS production, LDH activity, and MDA content; however, it enhanced SOD activity. Moreover, while hirudin significantly downregulated the levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, fibronectin (FN), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), collagen-I (COL-I), and COL-III, it upregulated the expression level of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2). Furthermore, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (p-ERK1/2) was decreased by hirudin, compared to the Ang-II group.
CONCLUSIONS: Hirudin depressed Ang II-induced myocardial fibroblasts via inhibiting oxidative stress, regulating fibrosis-related factors, and repressing the ERK1/2 pathway.

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