Aims: Endogenous ouabain is elevated in patients and experimental models of hypertension and is associated with elevated mortality. In this context, it is reasonable to assume that a new antihypertensive drug that inhibits the deleterious effects of endogenous ouabain may be a specific pharmacological tool for hypertension treatment. Here, we investigated the effects of rostafuroxin (ROSTA), an ouabain inhibitor, on SBP, endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress in deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt rats.
Methods and results: A hypertensive model was established in uninephrectomized Wistar rats using DOCA-salt. After SBP stabilization, DOCA-salt rats were divided into two groups: DOCA-salt (control) and DOCA-salt treatment with ROSTA (1 mg/kg per day gavage, 3 weeks). The SBP was measured using the tail-cuff method, and vascular function was assessed in mesenteric-resistance arteries (MRAs) using a wire myograph. Nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species production were investigated. Western blot was performed to quantify protein expression. Our results indicated that ROSTA treatment decreased SBP, improved acetylcholine-induced relaxation via enhanced nitric oxide synthesis and bioavailability, decreased superoxide anion generation from NAD(P)H oxidase and cyclooxygenase-2 and reduced cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase Src phosphorylation without changes in Na+K+_ATPase activity in MRA from DOCA-salt rats.
Conclusion: This study reports the critical role of endogenous ouabain in volume-dependent hypertension. In MRA from DOCA-salt rats, the binding of endogenous ouabain to Na+K+-ATPase results in downstream c-SRC activation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction. Endogenous ouabain is a putative target for the treatment of hypertension, and ROSTA may represent a novel therapeutic approach.