Göran Tornling 1, Rohit Batta 2, Dan Salvail 3 , Johan Raud 2,4,* and Christopher P. Denton 5
Abstract: Substantial evidence supports the involvement of the renin-angiotensin system in pul- monary hypertension (PH), and the angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) is known to exert tissue protective actions. The effect of the selective AT2R agonist C21 (also known as Compound 21 or buloxibutid) was evaluated in the rat Sugen-hypoxia PH model. After a single injection of Sugen 5416 and hypoxia for 21 days, C21 (2 or 20 mg/kg) or vehicle was administered perorally twice daily from Day 21 to Day 55. On Day 56, hemodynamic assessments were performed, and lung and heart tissue were prepared for quantification of cardiac and vascular remodeling and fibrosis. Treatment with C21 20 mg/kg improved cardiac output and stroke volume and decreased right ventricular hypertrophy (all p < 0.05). Treatment with C21 2 mg/kg significantly decreased vessel wall and muscular layer thickness and increased the luminal opening in vessels >100 μm (all p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between the two C21 doses on any parameter, and post hoc analyses comparing the merged C21 groups with the vehicle group showed that C21 treatment reduced vascular remodeling (reduced endothelial proliferation and thickening of the vascular wall) in vessels of all sizes; moreover, the diastolic pulmonary artery pressure and right ventricular pressure were reduced along with reduction of right ventricular hypertrophy. Sugen 5416 and hypoxia increased pulmonary collagen deposition, which was counteracted by C21 20 mg/kg. In conclusion, the effects of C21 on vascular remodeling, hemodynamic alterations, and fibrosis suggest that AT2R agonists may have a role in Group 1 and 3 PH treatment.