The aim of the present study was to investigate the coronary effects of Ang-(1–7) [angiotensin-(1–7)] in hypertrophic rat hearts. Heart hypertrophy was induced by abdominal aorta CoA (coarctation). Ang-(1–7) and AVE 0991, a non-peptide Mas-receptor agonist, at picomolar concentration, induced a significant vasodilation in hearts from sham-operated rats. These effects were blocked by the Mas receptor antagonist A-779. Pre-treatment with L-NAME (NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester) or ODQ (1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinozalin-1-one) [NOS (NO synthase) and soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitors respectively] also abolished the effect of Ang-(1–7) in control hearts. The coronary vasodilation produced by Ang-(1–7) and AVE 0991 was completely blunted in hypertrophic hearts. Chronic oral administration of losartan in CoA rats restored the coronary vasodilation effect of Ang-(1–7). This effect was blocked by A-779 and AT2 receptor (angiotensin II type 2 receptor) antagonist PD123319. Acute pre-incubation with losartan also restored the Ang-(1–7)-induced, but not BK (bradykinin)-induced, coronary vasodilation in hypertrophic hearts. This effect was inhibited by A-779, PD123319 and L-NAME. Chronic treatment with losartan did not change the protein expression of Mas and AT2 receptor and ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) and ACE2 in coronary arteries from CoA rats, but induced a slight increase in AT2 receptor in aorta of these animals. Ang-(1–7)-induced relaxation in aortas from sham-operated rats was absent in aortas from CoA rats. In vitro pre-treatment with losartan restored the Ang-(1–7)-induced relaxation in aortic rings of CoA rats, which was blocked by the Mas antagonist A-779 and L-NAME. These data demonstrate that Mas is strongly involved in coronary vasodilation and that AT1 receptor (angiotensin II type 1 receptor) blockade potentiates the vasodilatory effects of Ang-(1–7) in the coronary beds of pressure-overloaded rat hearts through NO-related AT2- and Mas-receptor-dependent mechanisms. These data suggest the association of Ang-(1–7) and AT1 receptor antagonists as a potential therapeutic avenue for coronary artery diseases.

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