Effect of oral heparin on homocysteine induced changes in hemodynamic parameters and oxidative stress.
Duckworth, Shannon Elissa
Several studies have found a positive correlation between hypertension and hyperhomocysteinemia. Increasing evidence implicates oxidative stress as one of the initiating events closely linked to the homocysteine’s ability to damage endothelium, subsequently causing vascular dysfunction. We previously found that heparin protects cultured endothelial cells from free radical injury and oral heparin at 1 mg/kg/48h prevents venous thrombosis in a rat model in vivo. Our objective was to study the protective effects of oral heparin in a rat model with elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations, and begin to elucidate whether the pathophysiological effects of Hcy are mediated through an oxidative mechanism causing endothelial dysfunction. Elevated plasma Hcy levels were induced by feeding male Wistar Kyoto rats a diet containing an additional 1.7% methionine for 8 weeks. Groups included rats fed additional methionine, methionine plus oral heparin (1 mg/kg/48h by gastric feeding tube), and age-matched controls fed normal rat chow. At the end of 8 weeks of treatment, rats were anesthetized using 1.5% isoflurane in 100% oxygen. Hemodynamics parameters were assessed by inserting a Millar Mikro Tip pressure transducer into the left ventricular chamber and the thoracic aorta. Fasting plasma total Hcy levels were measured using a Hcy immunoassay kit with an Abbott IMx instrument. Malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations, a lipid peroxidation product and marker for oxidative stress, was measured by a spectrophotometric method in serum and tissue samples. Glutathione (GSH) concentrations, an important antioxidant for low-level oxidative stress was measured by HPLC in plasma and tissues samples. Lastly, tissue samples from each experimental group were stained with the TUNEL method to assess their respective percentage of apoptotic endothelial cells. Results were expressed as mean ± S.E. Unpaired Student’s two-tailed t-test was employed to assess the difference between groups with p < 0.05 considered significant. Plasma Hcy was significantly elevated after 8 weeks in the methionine (7.17 ± 0.46 umol/L) and methionine plus heparin treated rats (7.02 ± 0.40 umol/L) compared to control (5.46 ± 0.36 umol/L). All measures of arterial pressure, systolic (SP) and diastolic pressure (DP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP), were significantly elevated in rats fed the methionine diet without heparin (119.9 ± 3.9 mmHg; 90.3 ± 3.5 mmHg; 97.7 ± 2.9 mmHg, respectively) compared to controls (107.8 ± 2.5 mmHg; 79.2 ± 2.1 mmHg; 88.8 ± 2.2 mmHg, respectively) but not compared to heparin (114.7 ± 3.3 mmHg; 83.4 ± 2.4 mmHg; 93.8 ± 2.7 mmHg, respectively). Left ventricular end diastolic pressure (LVEDP) was significantly elevated with the methionine diet without heparin (14.2 ± 2.5 mmHg) but not with heparin treatment (8.4 ± 1.9 mmHg) versus controls (7.1 ± 1.1 mmHg). Also, left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP) was significantly elevated in the methionine fed rats after 8 weeks (122.6 ± 3.2 mmHg) compared to controls (112.3. ± 2.9 mmHg). Heparin treatment had no effect on LVSP (119.9 ± 3.2 mmHg). Additionally, the results of this study showed that oral heparin treatment significantly decreased liver MDA concentrations (2.42 ± 0.28 nmol/mg protein) compared to the methionine treated group (5.10 ± 0.96 nmol/mg protein) and methionine treatment alone significantly reduced MDA concentrations in kidney tissue (1.59 ± 0.12 nmol/mg protein) compared with controls (3.26 ± 0.66 nmol/mg protein). Methionine diet significantly decreased GSH concentrations in plasma (0.59 ± 0.59 µmol/L) compared with controls (4.24 ± 0.94 µmol/L) and oral heparin treatment significantly attenuated the decrease in GSH concentrations in left ventricle tissue samples (0.0229 ± 0.0023 µmol/mg protein) compared with methionine treatment alone (0.0135 ± 0.0016 µmol/mg protein). Elevated plasma homocysteine levels, induced by methionine diet feeding significantly increased the percent of apoptotic endothelial cells in the aortas (17.04 ± 3.74%) and superior mesenteric arteries (17.99 ± 1.90%) of WKY rats compared with control aortas and mesenteric arteries (6.08 ± 3.24%; 7.43 ±1.62%, respectively) and compared to oral heparin treated mesenteric arteries (7.31 ± 1.18%). The results of this study showed that elevated plasma levels of Hcy correlate with the development of hypertension, defined as significantly increased arterial pressure. Oral heparin treatment prevented the significant increase in arterial pressures and LVEDP, decreased MDA concentrations and therefore the oxidative stress on the liver, attenuated the decrease caused by elevated plasma Hcy in left ventricle GSH concentrations, and significantly reduced the number of apoptotic endothelial cells in the superior mesenteric artery of high methionine fed rats. We conclude that elevated levels of plasma Hcy contributes to the development of hypertension and furthermore towards the onset of heart failure likely through an oxidative mechanism and that oral heparin reduces the overall oxidative stress in specific physiological environments, preventing Hcy mediated endothelial cell apoptosis.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorHiebert, Linda; Lee, Paul
CommitteePrasad, Kailash; Desautels, Michel; Fisher, Thomas; Bharadwaj, Lalita
Copyright DateDecember 2010