Abstract 337: Activation of Myocardial AMP-activated Protein Kinase by Metformin Prevents Progression of Heart Failure in Dogs; Involvement of eNOS Activation
Background; Several studies have shown that metformin activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which mediates potent cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion injury. AMPK is also activated in experimental failing myocardium, suggesting that activation of AMPK is beneficial for the pathophysiology of heart failure. We investigated whether metformin prevents oxidative stress-induced cell death in rat cardiomyocytes and attenuates the progression of heart failure in dogs.
Methods and Results; The treatment with metformin (10 μmol/L) protected the rat cultured cardiomyocytes against cell death due to H2O2 exposure (50 μmol/L) as indicated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT), TUNEL staining, and flow cytometry. These effects were blunted by an AMPK inhibitor, compound-C (20 μmol/L), suggesting that the activation of AMPK decreased the extent of apoptosis-induced cell death due to H2O2 exposure. Continuous rapid ventricular pacing (230/min for 4 weeks) in dogs caused heart failure and the treatment with metformin (100 mg/kg/day PO, n=8) decreased left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic dimension (32.8±0.4 vs. 36.5±1.0 mm, p< 0.01) and pressure (11.8±1.1 vs. 22±0.9 mmHg, p< 0.01), and increased LV fractional shortening (18.6±1.8 vs. 9.6±0.7 %, p< 0.01) along with enhanced phosphorylation of AMPK and the decreased the number of TUNEL-positive cells of the LV myocardium compared with the vehicle group (n=8). Interestingly, metformin increased the protein and mRNA levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase of the LV myocardium and plasma nitric oxide levels. Metformin improved the plasma insulin resistance without increased myocardial GLUT-4 translocation. Furthermore, the subcutaneous administration of AICAR (50 mg/kg/every other day), another AMPK activator mediated the equivalent effects to metformin, strengthening the pivotal role of AMPK in reduction of apoptosis and prevention of heart failure.
Conclusions; Activation of myocardial AMPK attenuated the oxidative stress-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and prevented the progression of heart failure in dogs, along with eNOS activation. Thus, metformin or AICAR may be applicable as a novel therapy for heart failure.