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      Combined treatment with olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate attenuates atherosclerotic lesion progression in a model of advanced atherosclerosis

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          Besides their blood pressure-lowering effects, olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate exhibit additional anti-inflammatory mechanisms in atherosclerosic disease. Most of the studies investigating the effects of atherosclerosis focused on early atherosclerotic lesions, whereas lesions in human disease, at the time when medical treatment is started, are already well established. Therefore, we set up a model of advanced atherosclerosis and investigated the effects of olmesartan medoxomil, amlodipine besylate, and the combination of both on atherosclerotic lesion size and lesion composition.

          Materials and methods

          Olmesartan medoxomil (1 mg/kg/day), amlodipine besylate (1.5 mg/kg/day), and the combination of both was added to chow and was fed to apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE −/−) mice at 25 weeks of age. Mice were sacrificed after 25 weeks of drug administration and perfused with formalin. Innominate arteries were dissected out and paraffin embedded. Serial sections were generated, and lesion sizes and their composition – such as minimal thickness of the fibrous cap, size of the necrotic core, and presence of calcification – were analyzed. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays were used to detect DNA-binding activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) in aortic tissue.


          Treatment with the combination of olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate led to a significant reduction in atherosclerotic lesion size in ApoE −/− mice (olmesartan medoxomil/amlodipine besylate: 122,277±6,795 μm 2, number [n]=14; versus control: 177,502±10,814 μm 2, n=9; P<0.001). Treatment with amlodipine besylate (n=5) alone did not reach significance. However, a trend toward a decrease in lesion size in the amlodipine besylate-treated animals could be observed. In the histological analysis of atherosclerotic lesion composition, significantly thicker fibrous caps were found in treatment with amlodipine besylate (amlodipine: 5.12±0.26 μm, n=6; versus control: 3.98±0.18 μm, n=10; P<0.01). Furthermore, all sections revealed morphological signs of calcification, but no difference could be detected. Treatment with the combination of olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate showed no effect on lesion composition. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays of nuclear extracts demonstrated reduced activity of the transcription factor NF-κB when treated with olmesartan medoxomil, amlodipine besylate, or their combination, as compared to controls.


          Combined treatment with olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate attenuated atherosclerotic lesion progression, possibly due to anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Our data support the hypothesis that even in advanced atherosclerosis anti-inflammatory treatment, using angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers and calcium channel antagonists of the dihydropyridine type can attenuate atherosclerotic lesion progression.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Inflammation in atherosclerosis: transition from theory to practice.

          Inflammation drives the formation, progression, and rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. Experimental studies have demonstrated that an inflammatory subset of monocytes/macrophages preferentially accumulate in atherosclerotic plaque and produce proinflammatory cytokines. T lymphocytes can contribute to inflammatory processes that promote thrombosis by stimulating production of collagen-degrading proteinases and the potent procoagulant tissue factor. Recent data link obesity, inflammation, and modifiers of atherosclerotic events, a nexus of growing clinical concern given the worldwide increase in the prevalence of obesity. Modulators of inflammation derived from visceral adipose tissue evoke production of acute phase reactants in the liver, implicated in thrombogenesis and clot stability. Additionally, C-reactive protein levels rise with increasing levels of visceral adipose tissue. Adipose tissue in obese mice contains increased numbers of macrophages and T lymphocytes, increased T lymphocyte activation, and increased interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) expression. IFN-gamma deficiency in mice reduces production of inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory cell accumulation in adipose tissue. Another series of in vitro and in vivo mouse experiments affirmed that adiponectin, an adipocytokine, the plasma levels of which drop with obesity, acts as an endogenous antiinflammatory modulator of both innate and adaptive immunity in atherogenesis. Thus, accumulating experimental evidence supports a key role for inflammation as a link between risk factors for atherosclerosis and the biology that underlies the complications of this disease. The recent JUPITER trial supports the clinical utility of an assessment of inflammatory status in guiding intervention to limit cardiovascular events. Inflammation is thus moving from a theoretical concept to a tool that provides practical clinical utility in risk assessment and targeting of therapy.
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            Atherosclerotic plaque destabilization: mechanisms, models, and therapeutic strategies.

            Understanding the pathophysiology of atherogenesis and the progression of atherosclerosis have been major goals of cardiovascular research during the previous decades. However, the complex molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying plaque destabilization remain largely obscure. Here, we review how lesional cells undergo cell death and how failed clearance exacerbates necrotic core formation. Advanced atherosclerotic lesions are further weakened by the pronounced local activity of matrix-degrading proteases as well as immature neovessels sprouting into the lesion. To stimulate translation of the current knowledge of molecular mechanisms of plaque destabilization into clinical studies, we further summarize available animal models of plaque destabilization. Based on the molecular mechanisms leading to plaque instability, we outline the current status of clinical and preclinical trials to induce plaque stability with a focus on induction of dead cell clearance, inhibition of protease activity, and dampening of inflammatory cell recruitment.
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              Anti-inflammatory therapeutics for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

              Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of heart disease and stroke and is thus the underlying pathology of the leading causes of death in the western world. Although risk can be reduced by lowering lipid levels, the equally important contribution of inflammation to the development of cardiovascular disease is not adequately addressed by existing therapies. Here, we summarize the evidence supporting a role for inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, discuss agents that are currently in the clinic and provide a perspective on the challenges faced in the development of drugs that target vascular inflammation.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                29 July 2015
                : 9
                : 3935-3942
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine III, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
                [2 ]Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
                [3 ]Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Michael R Preusch, Department of Internal Medicine III, Cardiology, Angiology, Pneumology, University of Heidelberg, University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany, Tel +49 622 156 8611, Fax +49 622 156 7638, Email michael.preusch@ 123456med.uni-heidelberg.de
                © 2015 Sievers et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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