29 July 2015
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.
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.