Abstract 186: Effect of Direct Thrombin Inhibition on Vascular Function and Aortic Valve Function in Hypercholesterolemic Mice
Thrombin plays a major role in coagulation cascade and participates in regulation of vascular function through its effects on protease-activated receptors (PARs). The effect of thrombin inhibition on vascular and aortic valve function during prolonged hypercholesterolemia, however, remains unknown. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that direct thrombin inhibition (DTI, dabigatran etexilate) slows progression of endothelial and aortic valve dysfunction in ldlr-deficient, apolipoprotein B100-only (LA) mice. Carotid arteries from LA mice were used for studies of endothelial function in isolated organ baths, and aortic valve function was evaluated using echocardiography. In placebo-treated mice, maximum relaxation to acetylcholine was reduced following 6 and 9 months of hypercholesterolemia (maximum relaxation to acetylcholine (MRACH) =75%± 3.7, and 67%± 3.6, respectively), but not affected by DTI (75%± 2.5, and 62%± 3.2, respectively). Relaxation to exogenous NO donors was also unaffected by DTI. Aortic valve function progressively deteriorated at 3, 6, and 9 months in placebo-treated mice (2.1 m/s± 0.04, 2.5 m/s± 0.1, and 2.9m/s ± 0.1, respectively), and was not affected by DTI (2.0m/s± 0.1, 2.5m/s± 0.1 and 3.0m/s ± 0.4, respectively). While PAR receptor expression was detected in aorta and aortic valve tissue, expression of SPHK1 (an indicator of PAR1 activity) was not altered by DTI. Expression of CTGF in aortic valves, however, tended to be reduced by DTI. In conclusion, our data suggest that DTI does not prevent vasomotor or aortic valve dysfunction in mice with prolonged hypercholesterolemia, but may attenuate pro-fibrotic signaling in aortic valves.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.