The purpose of this study was to determine whether an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, benazepril, and an angiotensin receptor antagonist, valsartan, would decrease atherosclerotic severity in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Male rabbits were fed either: (a) normal rabbit chow; (b) 2% cholesterol diet; (c) 2% cholesterol diet supplemented by benazepril (3 mg/kg per day, subcutaneous injection); or (d) 2% cholesterol diet supplemented by valsartan (1 mg/kg per day, subcutaneous injection). After 12 weeks, the arteries were harvested for histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry. We observed that decreases in serum triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) and ACE activity with benazepril-treatment were more than 60, 30, and 84%, respectively, in comparison with the cholesterol group; with valsartan-treatment, TG levels were 53% lower than in the cholesterol group, however, there was no significant difference in TC and ACE activity. The percentage of aortic surface atherosclerotic area, intimal thickness and the ratio of aortic intimal area to medial area were about 40% lower in the benazepril-treated group in comparison with those of the cholesterol group; the difference was more than 60% in the thoracic aorta. The valsartan-treated group had 23% less atherosclerotic area, less effective than benazepril treatment. The percent of PCNA-positive cells and the number of intimal proliferative cells/mm2 were significantly less in the benazepril-treated group compared with the cholesterol group (by 55 and 63%); these parameters were 35 and 17% lower, respectively, with valsartan. The ratio of proliferating macrophages to smooth muscle cells (SMCs) was 3:1 in the cholesterol group, 1:1 in the benazepril and 2:1 in the valsartan- treated group. These results indicate that benazepril could reduce atherosclerotic progression by decreasing macrophage proliferation and accumulation in the arterial wall. The mechanisms for reducing atherosclerotic progression by benazepril and valsartan may be related to reduction of TG and blockade of the angiotensin II action.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor
- Cell proliferation
- Smooth muscle cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine