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1.  Effect of combination tablets containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with hypertension 
Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and mortality. Patients who receive insufficient doses of antihypertensive agents or who are poorly adherent to multidrug treatment regimens often fail to achieve adequate blood pressure (BP) control. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) and calcium channel blocker (CCB) combination tablet containing a regular dose of irbesartan (100 mg) and a high dose of amlodipine (10 mg) with regard to lowering BP and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
We retrospectively evaluated data from 68 patients with essential hypertension whose treatment regimen was changed either from combination treatment with an independent ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB or from a combination tablet of ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB to a combination tablet containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg, because of incomplete BP control. Previous treatments did not include irbesartan as the ARB.
The combination tablet decreased systolic and diastolic BP. In addition, it significantly decreased serum uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, independent of the BP-lowering effect. Treatment with the combination tablet did not affect serum triglycerides, plasma glucose, glycated hemoglobin, serum potassium or creatinine levels, or the urinary albumin excretion rate.
The combination tablet containing amlodipine 10 mg and irbesartan 100 mg had a greater BP-lowering effect than an ARB and a low-dose or regular-dose CCB. In addition, the combination tablet had more favorable effects on serum uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in patients with hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4296916  PMID: 25624765
blood pressure; combination tablet; uric acid; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
2.  MicroRNA-378 Regulates Adiponectin Expression in Adipose Tissue: A New Plausible Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111537.
Mechanisms regulating adiponectin expression have not been fully clarified. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression, are involved in biological processes, including obesity and insulin resistance. We evaluated whether the miRNA-378 pathway is involved in regulating adiponectin expression.
Methods and Results
First, we determined a putative target site for miRNA-378 in the 3 prime untranslated region (3'UTR) of the adiponectin gene by in silico analysis. The levels of adiponectin mRNA and protein were decreased in 3T3-L1 cells overexpressing the mimic of miRNA-378. Luminescence activity in HEK293T cells expressing a renilla-luciferase-adiponectin-3'UTR sequence was inhibited by overexpressing the mimic of miRNA-378, and the decrease was reversed by adding the inhibitor of miRNA-378. Moreover, we confirmed the inhibitory effects of the mimic were cancelled in a deleted mutant of the miR-378 3′-UTR binding site. Addition of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) led a upregulation of miR-378 and downregulation of adiponectin at mRNA and protein levels in 3T3-L1 cells. Level of miR-378 was higher and mRNA level of adiponectin was lower in diabetic ob/ob mice than those of normal C57BL/6 mice and levels of miR378 and adiponectin were negatively well correlated (r = −0.624, p = 0.004).
We found that levels of miRNA-378 could modulate adiponectin expression via the 3'UTR sequence-binding site. Our findings warrant further investigations into the role of miRNAs in regulating the adiponectin expression.
PMCID: PMC4224402  PMID: 25379946
3.  Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, restores endothelial function by reducing vascular inflammation and by increasing the phosphorylation ratio Ser1177/Thr497 of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in diabetic mice 
Azilsartan, an angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker (ARB), has a higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors and shows stronger inverse agonism compared to other ARBs. Possible benefits of azilsartan in diabetic vascular dysfunction have not been established.
We measured vascular reactivity of aortic rings in male KKAy diabetic mice treated with vehicle, 0.005% azilsartan, or 0.005% candesartan cilexetil for 3 weeks. Expression of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress was measured using semiquantitative RT-PCR in the vascular wall, perivascular fat, and skeletal muscle. Phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) at Ser1177 and Thr495 was measured using Western blotting, and the ratio of phosphorylation at Ser1177 to phosphorylation at Thr495 was used as a putative indicator of vascular eNOS activity.
(1) Vascular endothelium–dependent relaxation with acetylcholine in KKAy mice was improved by azilsartan treatment compared to candesartan cilexetil; (2) the ratio of Ser1177/Thr495 phosphorylation of eNOS was impaired in KKAy and was effectively restored by azilsartan; (3) anomalies in the expression levels of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP1), F4/80, NAD(P)H oxidase (Nox) 2, and Nox4 of the aortic wall and in the expression of TNFα in the perivascular fat were strongly attenuated by azilsartan compared to candesartan cilexetil.
These results provide evidence that azilsartan prevents endothelial dysfunction in diabetic mice, more potently than does candesartan cilexetil. Azilsartan’s higher affinity for and slower dissociation from AT1 receptors may underlie its efficacy in diabetic vascular dysfunction via a dual effect on uncoupled eNOS and on Nox.
PMCID: PMC3916073  PMID: 24485356
4.  Endothelial CD47 promotes Vascular Endothelial-cadherin tyrosine phosphorylation and participates in T-cell recruitment at sites of inflammation in vivo 
At sites of inflammation, endothelial adhesion molecules bind leukocytes and transmit signals required for transendothelial migration (TEM). We previously reported that adhesive interactions between endothelial cell CD47 and leukocyte Signal Regulatory Proteinγ (SIRPγ) regulate human T-cell TEM. The role of endothelial CD47 in T-cell TEM in vivo, however, has not been explored. Here, CD47−/− mice showed reduced recruitment of blood T-cells as well as neutrophils and monocytes in a dermal air pouch model of TNF-α induced inflammation. Reconstitution of CD47−/− mice with wild type bone marrow (BM) cells did not restore leukocyte recruitment to the air pouch, indicating a role for endothelial CD47. The defect in leukocyte TEM in the CD47−/− endothelium was corroborated by intravital microscopy of inflamed cremaster muscle microcirculation in BM chimera mice. In an in vitro human system, CD47 on both HUVEC and T-cells were required for TEM. Although previous studies showed CD47-dependent signaling required Gαi coupled pathways, this was not the case for endothelial CD47 because pertussis toxin (PTX), which inactivates Gαi, had no inhibitory effect, whereas Gαi was required by the T-cell for TEM. We next investigated the endothelial CD47-dependent signaling events that accompany leukocyte TEM. Antibody-induced crosslinking of CD47 revealed robust actin cytoskeleton reorganization and Src and Pyk-2 kinase dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of the VE-cadherin cytoplasmic tail. This signaling was PTX insensitive suggesting that endothelial CD47 signaling is independent of Gαi. These findings suggest that engagement of endothelial CD47 by its ligands triggers “outside-in” signals in endothelium that facilitate leukocyte TEM.
PMCID: PMC3424398  PMID: 22815286
5.  Telmisartan ameliorates insulin sensitivity by activating the AMPK/SIRT1 pathway in skeletal muscle of obese db/db mice 
Telmisartan is a well-established angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker that improves insulin sensitivity in animal models of obesity and insulin resistance, as well as in humans. Telmisartan has been reported to function as a partial agonist of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ, which is also targeted by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent deacetylase (SIRT1). Here, we investigated the pathways through which telmisartan acts on skeletal muscle, in vitro as well as in vivo.
Nine-week-old male db/db mice were fed a 60% high-fat diet, with orally administrated either vehicle (carboxymethyl-cellulose, CMC), 5 mg/kg telmisartan, or 5 mg/kg telmisartan and 1 mg/kg GW9662, a selective irreversible antagonist of PPARγ, for 5 weeks. Effects of telmisartan on Sirt1 mRNA, AMPK phosphorylation, and NAD+/NADH ratio were determined in C2C12 cultured myocytes.
Results and discussion
Telmisartan treatment improved insulin sensitivity in obese db/db mice fed a high-fat diet and led to reduction in the size of hypertrophic pancreatic islets in these mice. Moreover, in vitro treatment with telmisartan led to increased expression of Sirt1 mRNA in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells; the increase in Sirt1 mRNA in telmisartan-treated C2C12 myoblasts occurred concomitantly with an increase in AMPK phosphorylation, an increase in NAD+/NADH ratio, and increases in the mRNA levels of PGC1α, FATP1, ACO, and GLUT4.
Our results indicate that telmisartan acts through a PPARγ-independent pathway, but at least partially exerts its effects by acting directly on skeletal muscle AMPK/SIRT1 pathways.
PMCID: PMC3527353  PMID: 23137106
Adiponectin; AMP-activated protein kinase; Obesity; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ; SIRT1
6.  Gender disparities in the association between epicardial adipose tissue volume and coronary atherosclerosis: A 3-dimensional cardiac computed tomography imaging study in Japanese subjects 
Growing evidence suggests that epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) may contribute to the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). In this study, we explored gender disparities in EAT volume (EATV) and its impact on coronary atherosclerosis.
The study population consisted of 90 consecutive subjects (age: 63 ± 12 years; men: 47, women: 43) who underwent 256-slice multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) coronary angiography. EATV was measured as the sum of cross-sectional epicardial fat area on CT images, from the lower surface of the left pulmonary artery origin to the apex. Subjects were segregated into the CAD group (coronary luminal narrowing > 50%) and non-CAD group.
EATV/body surface area (BSA) was higher among men in the CAD group than in the non-CAD group (62 ± 13 vs. 33 ± 10 cm3/m2, p < 0.0001), but did not differ significantly among women in the 2 groups (49 ± 18 vs. 42 ± 9 cm3/m2, not significant). Multivariate logistic analysis showed that EATV/BSA was the single predictor for >50% coronary luminal narrowing in men (p < 0.0001). Predictors excluded were age, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia.
Increased EATV is strongly associated with coronary atherosclerosis in men.
PMCID: PMC3489699  PMID: 22963346
Atherosclerosis; Gender difference; Epicardial adipose tissue; Obesity
7.  Deletion of EP4 on bone marrow–derived cells enhances inflammation and angiotensin II-induced abdominal aortic aneurysm formation 
To examine whether a lack of prostaglandin E receptor 4 (EP4) on bone marrow-derived cells would increase local inflammation and enhance the formation of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in vivo.
Methods and Results
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), through activation of its receptor EP4, can mute inflammation. Hypercholesterolemic low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout (LDLR−/−) mice transplanted with either EP4+/+ [EP4+/+/LDLR−/−] or EP4−/− [EP4−/−/LDLR−/−] bone marrow received infusions of angiotensin II to induce AAA. Deficiency of EP4 on bone marrow–derived cells increased the incidence (50% of male EP4+/+/LDLR−/− vs. 88.9% male EP4−/−/LDLR−/− developed AAA; and 22% of female EP4+/+/LDLR−/− vs. 83.3% female EP4−/−/LDLR−/− developed AAA) and severity of AAA, increased monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (2.72-fold in males and 1.64-fold in females), and enhanced infiltration of macrophages (3.8-fold in males and 2.44-fold in females) and T cells (1.88-fold in males and 1.66-fold in females) into AAA lesions. Lack of EP4 on bone marrow–derived cells augmented elastin fragmentation, increased apoptotic markers, and decreased smooth-muscle cell accumulation within AAA lesions.
Deficiency of EP4 on bone marrow–derived cells boosted inflammation and AAA formation induced by angiotensin II in hyperlipidemic mice. This study affirms the pathophysiologic importance of PGE2 signaling through EP4 as an endogenous anti-inflammatory pathway involved in experimental aneurysm formation.
PMCID: PMC3025710  PMID: 21088251
Prostaglandin E2; EP4; abdominal aortic aneurysm; inflammation
8.  Arterial and Aortic Valve Calcification Abolished by Elastolytic Cathepsin S Deficiency in Chronic Renal Disease 
Circulation  2009;119(13):1785-1794.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that 50% of individuals with chronic renal disease (CRD) die of cardiovascular causes, including advanced calcific arterial and valvular disease; however, the mechanisms of accelerated calcification in CRD remain obscure, and no therapies can prevent disease progression. We recently demonstrated in vivo that inflammation triggers cardiovascular calcification. In vitro evidence also indicates that elastin degradation products may promote osteogenesis. Here, we used genetically modified mice and molecular imaging to test the hypothesis in vivo that cathepsin S (catS), a potent elastolytic proteinase, accelerates calcification in atherosclerotic mice with CRD induced by 5/6 nephrectomy.
Methods and Results
Apolipoprotein-deficient (apoE−/−)/catS+/+ (n = 24) and apoE−/−/catS−/− (n = 24) mice were assigned to CRD and control groups. CRD mice had significantly higher serum phosphate, creatinine, and cystatin C levels than those without CRD. To visualize catS activity and osteogenesis in vivo, we coadministered catS-activatable and calcification-targeted molecular imaging agents 10 weeks after nephrectomy. Imaging coregistered increased catS and osteogenic activities in the CRD apoE−/−/catS+/+ cohort, whereas CRD apoE−/−/catS−/− mice exhibited less calcification. Quantitative histology demonstrated greater catS-associated elastin fragmentation and calcification in CRD apoE−/−/catS+/+ than CRD apoE−/−/catS−/− aortas and aortic valves. Notably, catS deletion did not cause compensatory increases in RNA levels of other elastolytic cathepsins or matrix metalloproteinases. Elastin peptide and recombinant catS significantly increased calcification in smooth muscle cells in vitro, a process further amplified in phosphate-enriched culture medium.
The present study provides direct in vivo evidence that catS-induced elastolysis accelerates arterial and aortic valve calcification in CRD, providing new insight into the pathophysiology of cardiovascular calcification.
PMCID: PMC2717745  PMID: 19307473
calcification; aortic valve; atherosclerosis; kidney failure, chronic; elastin

Results 1-8 (8)