Endothelin-1 (ET-1) production is increased in hypertrophied hearts accompanied with fibrosis. ET-1 is a potent mitogen of fibroblasts and ET receptor antagonists are reported to inhibit the proliferation of fibroblasts and cardiac fibrosis. Peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα), one of the nuclear hormone receptors, suppresses activator protein-1 (AP-1), one of the nuclear transcription factors. Activation of PPARα is reported to inhibit thrombin-induced ET-1 production by repressing the AP-1 signalling pathway in vascular endothelial cells. We investigated effects of the PPARα activator fenofibrate (80mg/kg per day, per os) on mRNA levels of ET-1, collagen type I and type III and histological features of myocardial fibrosis in hypertrophied rat hearts due to pressure-overload by abdominal aortic banding (AB). The treatment with fenofibrate or vehicle was started 7 days before the AB operation. Four days after the AB operation, fenofibrate treatment significantly reduced ET-1 mRNA expression compared with vehicle treatment in AB rat hearts. Collagen type I and type III mRNA expression, and interstitial and perivascular fibrosis were attenuated in the fenofibrate-treated AB rat group. Since the ET-1 gene has AP-1 response elements in the 5´-flanking region, it is suggested that myocardial fibrosis is effectively inhibited by fenofibrate through suppression of AP-1-mediated ET-1 gene augmentation in the pressure-overloaded heart caused by aortic banding in rats.

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