Effects of Levosimendan on Cardiac Gene Expression Profile and Post-Infarct Cardiac Remodelling in Diabetic Goto-Kakizaki Rats


Author for correspondence: Eero Mervaala, Institute of Biomedicine, Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, PO Box 63, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland (fax +358 9 191 25 364, e-mail eero.mervaala@helsinki.fi).


Abstract:  The calcium sensitizer levosimendan has shown beneficial effects on cardiac remodelling in spontaneously diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats 12 weeks after experimental myocardial infarction (MI). However, the short-term effects and the cellular mechanisms remain partially unresolved. The aim was to study the effects of oral levosimendan treatment on the myocardial gene expression profile in diabetic GK rats 4 weeks after MI/sham operation. MI was induced to diabetic GK rats. Twenty-four hours after surgery, rats were randomized into four groups: MI, MI +levosimendan (1 mg/kg/day), sham-operated and sham-operated +levosimendan. Cardiac function and histology were examined 1, 4 and 12 weeks after MI. The effects of levosimendan on cardiac gene expression profile were investigated by microarray analysis. Levosimendan ameliorated post-infarct heart failure and cardiac remodelling. Levosimendan altered the expression of 264 of MI and sham rats, respectively; these changes were associated with alterations in two Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. Levosimendan up-regulated 3 genes in the renin-angiotensin system pathway [angiotensin receptor 1 (Agtr1), chymase 1 (Cma1) and thimet oligopeptidase 1 (Thop1)] and down-regulated 3 genes in the glycerolipid metabolism pathway [diacylglycerol kinase gamma (Dgkg), carboxyl ester lipase (Cel) and Diacylglycerol kinase iota]. Levosimendan induced opposite effects on the gene expression of pleckstrin homology (PH) domain?containing family f (Plekhf1), carboxymethylenebutenolidase homologue (Cmbl) (up-regulation) and hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase 15 (Hpgd) (down-regulation) as compared with MI. MI versus sham affected 420 genes and was associated with alterations in 12 KEGG pathways. The beneficial effects of levosimendan on cardiac hypertrophy in sham-operated GK rats was associated with altered expression in 522 genes and associated with three KEGG pathways including purine metabolism, cell cycle pathway and pathways in cancer. Levosimendan protects against post-infarct heart failure and cardiac remodelling. Analysis of the cardiac transcriptome revealed several genes that are regulated by levosimendan. These genes may represent novel drug targets for heart failure and diabetic cardiomyopathy.