Original Article

Involvement of RhoA/ROCK in myocardial fibrosis in a rat model of type 2 diabetes

Authors: Hong Zhou, Yong-jun Li, Mian Wang, Li-hui Zhang, Bing-yan Guo, Zhan-sheng Zhao, Feng-ling Meng, Yong-gui Deng, Rui-ying Wang
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2011.54


Aim: To investigate whether activation of RhoA/Rho kinase (ROCK) is involved in myocardial fibrosis in diabetic hearts.
Methods: A rat model of type 2 diabetes was established using high fat diet combined with streptozotocin (30 mg/kg, ip). Animals were randomly divided into 3 groups: control rats, untreated diabetic rats that received vehicle and treated diabetic rats that received Rho-kinase inhibitor fasudil hydrochloride hydrate (10 mg·kg-1 ·d-1 , ip, for 14 weeks). Cardiac contractile function was evaluated in vivo. The morphological features of cardiac fibrosis were observed using immunohistochemistry and TEM. The mRNA expression of JNK, TGFβ1, type-I, and type-III procollagen was assessed with RT-PCR. The phosphorylation of MYPT1, JNK and Smad2/3, as well as the protein levels of TGFβ1 and c-Jun, were evaluated using Western blotting.
Results: In untreated diabetic rats, myocardial fibrosis was developed and the heart contractility was significantly reduced as compared to the control rats. In the hearts of untreated diabetic rats, the mRNA expression level and activity of JNK were upregulated; the expression of TGFβ1 and phosphorylation of Smad2/3 were increased. In the hearts of treated diabetic rat, activation of JNK and TGFβ/Smad was significantly decreased, myocardial fibrosis was reduced, and cardiac contractile function improved.
Conclusion: The data suggest that fasudil hydrochloride hydrate ameliorates myocardial fibrosis in rats with type 2 diabetes at least in part through inhibiting the JNK and TGFβ/Smad pathways. Inhibition of RhoA/ROCK may be a novel therapeutic target for prevention of diabetic cardiomyopathy.

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