The broad objective of this program is to perform preclinical experimentation on animal models of myocardial ischemia and subsequent chronic heart failure (CHF) to elucidate the mechanisms of its development and to evaluate the potential of different therapeutic modalities to limit the extent of myocardial damage and to prevent or attenuate the development of CHF. I. Beta-2 adrenergic receptors in treatment of CHF. The role of beta-adrenergic receptor (AR) subtype signaling in the development of CHF is clearly important. It is widely accepted now that beta-1 AR activation is associated with development of CHF. Recent data indicate that stimulation of beta-1 AR is proapoptotic, thus, the use of beta-1 AR antagonists became a recommended therapy for HF. The possible role of beta-2 AR agonists remains debatable;however, the consensus is that similar to beta-1 AR, activation of beta-2 AR during CHF is harmful. Recent research in LCS using single myocytes indicated that the beta-2 AR agonist, fenoterol, possesses a unique cardioprotective property, and, in fact, is antiapoptotic. In several previously published studies we have reported the positive therapeutic effect of chronic treatment with a combination of the beta-2 AR agonist, fenoterol and beta-1 AR blocker, metaprolol in the rat model of post MI dilated cardiomyopathy. Proposed treatment was equal to a currently standard therapy for chronic heart failure (combination of beta-1 AR blocker and ACE-inhibitor) with respect to mortality and exceeded the standard therapy with respect to cardiac remodeling. II. Fenoterol exists as four stereoisomers. Combination of two of enantiomers, RR and SS, are a racemic mixture which represents an actual drug that had been used clinically for treatment of asthma and for our experiments cited above. In order to refine the therapeutic effectiveness of fenoterol in the CHF model, researchers in LCS in collaboration with BDD, NIA (Dr. Wainer) have synthesized a series of stereoisomers of fenoterol and its derivatives and characterized their receptor binding and pharmacological properties. The hypothesis had been tested that the stereochemistry of an agonist determines selectivity of receptor coupling to different G protein(s). The R,R-isomers of fenoterol and methoxyfenoterol exhibited more potent effects to increase cardiomyocyte contraction than their S,R-isomers. Importantly, while R,R-fenoterol and R,R-methoxyfenoterol preferentially activate Gs signaling, their S,R-isomers were able to activate both Gs and Gi proteins as evidenced by the robust pertussis toxin-sensitivities of their effects on cardiomyocyte contraction and on phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. The differential G protein selectivities of the fenoterol stereoisomers were further confirmed by photoaffinity labeling studies on Gs, Gi2 and Gi3 proteins. The inefficient Gi signaling with the R,R-isomers is not caused by the inability of the R,R-isomers to trigger the PKA-mediated phosphorylation of the beta2-AR, since the R,R-isomers also markedly increased phosphorylation of the receptor at serine262 by PKA. It also has been reported that in experiments in isolated rat cardiomyocytes the R-enantiomer of fenoterol exhibits more potent effects on cardiomyocyte contractility and better Gs protein selectivity than other stereoisomers, and had been proposed as a promising new drug. We used the rat experimental model of post MI DCM to compare the efficacy of the R- and L-enantiomers of fenoterol with its racemic mixture, whose efficacy had been demonstrated in our previous experiments. Racemic mixture of fenoterol (F) and one of its enantiomers, right (RF) or left (LF), were given to rats in drinking water as described above, starting 2 weeks after induction of MI. The LV remodeling and function were assessed during the next 5 months via serial echocardiography. All the effects of fenoterol described above, attenuation of LV remodeling and functional decline and arrest of MI expansion were replicated in the present experiment, including the loss of effectiveness after 3 months as a monotherapy. Both groups treated with right or left enantiomers of fenoterol were indistinguishable from the untreated group. Thus, the therapeutic potential of the R-enantiomer of fenoterol reported on the basis of experiments on single cardiomyocyte level was not confirmed in our whole animal experiments. III. Non-erythropoietic derivatives of Erythropoietin. A pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide (pHBP), a small peptide, had been engineered on the basis of erythropoietin molecule to effect tissue protection without erythropoiesis. In experiments in the rat model of MI induced by a permanent ligation of a coronary artery we demonstrated strong cardioprotective effects of pHBP. Taking advantage of the fact that multiple injections of pHBP do not result in the elevation of hematocrit, we tested the idea that repeated injections of pHBP can attenuate the post MI LV remodeling. The experiment was conducted using our usual experimental design: Two weeks after coronary ligation early remodeling was evaluated by echocardiography and rats divided into experimental and control groups of similar average MI size. pHBP (60 g/kg) or saline (1 mL/kg) was injected twice a week for 6 weeks. Reduction of ejection fraction and expansion of MI size observed in control rats were arrested in pHBP treated animals. Since relatively short-term treatment with pHBP showed beneficial effects on post-MI LV remodeling in the rat model of permanent coronary occlusion, we initiated a year-long experiment injecting post-MI rats twice a week with pHBP. Progression of LV remodeling, LV function and MI expansion is assessed via serial echocardiography. The primary outcome of treatment is mortality. The secondary outcome is a cardiac remodeling. At the time of composing this report, the experiment is halfway through and preliminary results are very encouraging: survival of pHBP treated rats was significantly improved in comparison with untreated animals. For the 10 months, starting two weeks after left coronary artery ligation, rats received the i.p. injections of HBSP (60g/kg;n=33) or saline (n=33) 2 times per week. Compared to control, saline-treated rats, HBSP treatment significantly reduced mortality (35% vs. 65%;p<0.05). Repeated echocardiography demonstrated remarkable attenuation of left ventricular (LV) chamber dilatation (EDV: 41% vs. 86%;ESV: 44% vs. 135%;p<0.05), LV functional deterioration (EF: -4% vs. -63%;p<0.05) and MI expansion (3% vs. 38%;p<0.05) in HPSP-treated compared to untreated rats. Blood hematocrit level measured monthly was not affected by HBSP treatment. An invasive hemodynamic assessment at the end of 10-mo treatment showed better LV systolic function (PRSW: 635 vs. 404;p<0.05) and arterio-ventricular coupling (Ea/Ees: 1.20.2 vs. 2.70.7;p<0.05) in HBSP-treated compared to saline-treated rats. Histological analysis revealed less apoptosis (0.60.1% vs. 0.90.1%;p<0.05), myocardial fibrosis (2.60.2% vs. 4.10.5%;p<0.05), and myocyte hypertrophy (cell diameter: 311m vs. 371m;p<0.05) in non-infarcted myocardium among HBSP-treated rats compared to saline-treated rats. Results suggest that HBSP could be considered as a safe alternative to EPO for further clinical testing in the patients with chronic heart failure.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
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Ahmet, Ismayil; Tae, Hyun-Jin; Brines, Michael et al. (2013) Chronic administration of small nonerythropoietic peptide sequence of erythropoietin effectively ameliorates the progression of postmyocardial infarction-dilated cardiomyopathy. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 345:446-56
Ahmet, Ismayil; Turner, Tia; Lakatta, Edward G et al. (2012) Fenoterol enantiomers do not possess beneficial therapeutic properties of their racemic mixture in the rat model of post myocardial infarction dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 26:101-8
Ahmet, Ismayil; Tae, Hyun-Jin; Juhaszova, Magdalena et al. (2011) A small nonerythropoietic helix B surface peptide based upon erythropoietin structure is cardioprotective against ischemic myocardial damage. Mol Med 17:194-200
Talan, Mark I; Ahmet, Ismayil; Xiao, Riu-Ping et al. (2011) β₂ AR agonists in treatment of chronic heart failure: long path to translation. J Mol Cell Cardiol 51:529-33
Ahmet, Ismail; Morrell, Chris; Lakatta, Edward G et al. (2009) Therapeutic efficacy of a combination of a beta1-adrenoreceptor (AR) blocker and beta2-AR agonist in a rat model of postmyocardial infarction dilated heart failure exceeds that of a beta1-AR blocker plus angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 331:178-85
Ahmet, Ismayil; Krawczyk, Melissa; Zhu, Weizhong et al. (2008) Cardioprotective and survival benefits of long-term combined therapy with beta2 adrenoreceptor (AR) agonist and beta1 AR blocker in dilated cardiomyopathy postmyocardial infarction. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 325:491-9