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  • Author: Vladimír Knezl x
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Metabolic syndrome belongs to the most important risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in cardiovascular system induced by high cholesterol and high fat diet (HCHF) in HTG rats and their influence by a pyridoindole antioxidant – SMe1EC2 (S). The effects of S were compared with those of atorvastatin (A). Male HTG rats were fed HCHF (1% cholesterol + 7.5% lard) for 4 weeks. S and A were administered p.o., 50 mg/kg b.w. Following experimental groups were used: Wistar rats (W), hypertriglyceridemic rats (HTG), HTG rats fed HCHF (CHOL), HTG+S (S-HTG), CHOL+S (S-CHOL), and CHOL+A (A-CHOL). Values of blood pressure (BP) and selected ECG parameters were monitored in conscious animals, functions of the isolated heart and aorta were analyzed ex vivo. At the end of the experiment, systolic (sBP) and diastolic (dBP) blood pressure was increased in HTG and CHOL. S and A decreased BP in all treated groups. Accordingly with BP changes, the aortic endothelial function of CHOL was damaged. Both S and A administration ameliorated the endothelium-dependent relaxation to values of W. PQ and QTc intervals were prolonged in CHOL, while the treatment with S or A improved ECG findings. Prodysrhythmogenic threshold was decreased significantly in CHOL and both treatments returned it to the control values. In conclusion, HCHF increased BP, impaired endothelial relaxation of the aorta and potentiated susceptibility of myocardium to dysrhythmias. The effect of S on the changes induced by HCHF diet was more pronounced than that of A.


Elevated plasma cholesterol, especially low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is one of the major risk factors for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Hereditary hypertriglyceridemic rats (hHTG) were developed as a new inbred model for the study of relationships between blood pressure and metabolic abnormalities. The aim of this work was to determine the cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects of the novel pyridoindol derivative SMe1EC2, compared to the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin, in rats fed either standard or high-fat and high-cholesterol diet (HFC; 1% cholesterol and 7.5% lard fat). Male hHTG rats fed HFC (HTG+HFC) were administered with SMe1EC2 or atorvastatin (both 50 mg/kg/day p.o.) for 4 weeks. Physiological status of animals was monitored by the measurement of preprandial glucose levels and blood pressure. Lipid profile was characterized by the serum levels of total cholesterol (TC), HDL-, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides (TRG). The concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) was evaluated in the kidney, liver and serum. Further, the assessment of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6 in the serum was completed. Feeding the animals with HFC diet resulted in increased serum levels of TC, LDL and TRG. SMe1EC2 ameliorated serum levels of LDL in hHTG rats, both on standard and HFC diet. These effects were comparable with those of the standard hypolipidemicum atorvastatin. SMe1EC2 lowered blood pressure, tissue TBARS concentrations and serum IL-1 levels of HTG+HFC rats. Beneficial effects together with very good toxicity profile predestinate SMe1EC2 to be promising agent for further surveys related to metabolic syndrome features.


Metabolic syndrome represents one of the major health, social and economic issues nowadays, and affects more than 25% people worldwide. Being a multifactorial health problem, metabolic syndrome clusters various features, such as obesity, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia and hypertension. Each of these disturbances represents a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. Moreover, patients with metabolic syndrome are more likely to suffer from depression, thus treatment with antidepressants (e.g. venlafaxine) is often neccessary. However, many of the antidepressants themselves may contribute to worsening or even development of the metabolic syndrome, thus creating a “vicious circle”. The aim of this work was to investigate on the animal model of metabolic syndrome, i.e. on hypertriacylglycerolemic rats fed high-fat-fructose diet (HFFD): 1) the effect of a change in diet from HFFD to a standard diet (SD) and the effect of venlafaxine treatment, 2) during HFFD, 3) as well as during a changed diet to SD. We focused on biometric parameters, blood pressure and selected ECG parameters. We observed the reversibility of the present metabolic and cardiovascular changes by switching the HFFD to SD in the last 3 weeks of the experiment. Switch to the standard diet led to decrease of body weight, even in the presence of venlafaxine. Administration of venlafaxine caused the decrease of heart weight/body weight index in rats fed with HFFD compared to the untreated group fed with HFFD for 8 weeks. Blood pressure, which was increased in the HFFD group showed a tendency to decrease to control values after switching to the standard diet. Administration of venlafaxine led to significant increase in all parameters of blood pressure when rats were fed with HFFD throughout the whole experiment. In untreated rats fed with HFFD for 8 weeks, we observed a shorter PQ interval and prolonged QRS complex as well as QTc interval compared to untreated rats with diet switched to SD. This effect was potentiated by venlafaxine administered not only during HFFD but even after switch to SD. Our results point to the fact that metabolic syndrome is clearly affecting the function of the cardiovascular system by modifying blood pressure and electrical activity of the heart. Moreover, administration of venlafaxine may lead to worsening of the observed changes, especially in the presence of high-fat-fructose diet.

Protection of the vascular endothelium in experimental situations

One of the factors proposed as mediators of vascular dysfunction observed in diabetes is the increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This provides support for the use of antioxidants as early and appropriate pharmacological intervention in the development of late diabetic complications. In streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in rats we observed endothelial dysfuction manifested by reduced endothelium-dependent response to acetylcholine of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and aorta, as well as by increased endothelaemia. Changes in endothelium-dependent relaxation of SMA were induced by injury of the nitric oxide radical (·NO)-signalling pathway since the endothelium-derived hyperpolarising factor (EDHF)-component of relaxation was not impaired by diabetes. The endothelial dysfunction was accompanied by decreased ·NO bioavailabity as a consequence of reduced activity of eNOS rather than its reduced expression. The results obtained using the chemiluminiscence method (CL) argue for increased oxidative stress and increased ROS production. The enzyme NAD(P)H-oxidase problably participates in ROS production in the later phases of diabetes. Oxidative stress was also connected with decreased levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) in the early phase of diabetes. After 10 weeks of diabetes, adaptational mechanisms probably took place because GSH levels were not changed compared to controls. Antioxidant properties of SMe1EC2 found in vitro were partly confirmed in vivo. Administration of SMe1EC2 protected endothelial function. It significantly decreased endothelaemia of diabetic rats and improved endothelium-dependent relaxation of arteries, slightly decreased ROS-production and increased bioavailability of ·NO in the aorta. Further studies with higher doses of SMe1EC2 may clarify the mechanism of its endothelium-protective effect in vivo.