To ascertain the pathophysiological roles of the renin-angiotensin system and endothelin in heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy, we assessed changes in cardiac angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) receptor using rats in which myocardial infarction was induced by left coronary ligation. The animals were decapitated 1 or 8 months after the operation. Cardiac ACE and ET-1 receptor were quantified by computerized in vitro autoradiography using 125I-MK351A (a lisinopril derivative) and 125I-ET-1. One month after myocardial infarction, cardiac weight and plasma atrial natriuretic peptide had increased in rats with infarction, compared to sham-operated controls, indicating the presence of chronic left ventricular dysfunction, although exchangeable body sodium and plasma renin activity were unchanged. Cardiac ACE increased markedly in the infarcted area and moderately in hypertrophied myocardium without any change in affinity compared to sham-operated rats. On the other hand, there was no change in cardiac ET-1 receptors in infarcted rats. The same results were found even at 8 months after myocardial infarction. The present study indicates that cardiac ACE may participate in tissue repair at the site of myocardial infarction and may also play a role in the pathophysiology of cardiac hypertrophy in rats with chronic heart failure. However, the present results do not reveal whether ET-1 receptor participates in the pathophysiology of cardiac hypertrophy in this model.
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