11β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1: a new therapeutic target post-myocardial infarction?
McSweeney, Sara Jane
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Glucocorticoids can reduce infarct size when given immediately after myocardial infarction (MI) but are detrimental when administration is continued into the post-infarct healing phase. A number of experimental studies have shown that reduction of infarct expansion by enhancing blood supply to the infarct border reduces remodelling and improves heart function post-MI. Previous experiments from this laboratory have shown that mice unable to locally regenerate corticosterone due to deficiency in 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11HSD1) have an enhanced angiogenic response during myocardial infarct healing that is associated with improved cardiac function. We hypothesized that the enhanced angiogenic response in 11HSD1 knock out (-/-) mice would be preceded by augmented inflammation. Moreover this would be associated with improved cardiac function. This thesis aimed firstly to establish that murine cardiac phenotype was not influenced by 11HSD1 deficiency. 11HSD1-/- and C57Bl6 control mice had comparable cardiac structure and function. 11HSD1 expression was localised to fibroblasts and vascular smooth muscle cells in the myocardium. The second aim of this thesis was to characterise the healing response after MI in 11HSD1-/- mice compared to C57Bl6 mice. Neutrophil infiltration peaked 2 days after MI and was significantly enhanced in the 11HSD1-/- mice relative to C57Bl6 mice, despite comparable infarct size in both groups. This was followed by increased macrophage accumulation in the infarct border. Furthermore, in the 11HSD1-/- mice a greater proportion of macrophages were of the alternatively activated phenotype. Left ventricular expression of pro-angiogenic IL-8, but not VEGF, was increased. Cellular proliferation and vessel density at 7 days were greater in 11HSD1-/- compared to C57Bl6 hearts. This was associated with improved cardiac function 7 days post-MI. The third aim of this thesis was to determine whether the enhancement in vessel density and cardiac function was maintained beyond the initial wound healing phase. 11HSD1-/- mice retained the increased vessel density compared to C57Bl6 mice and these vessels were smooth muscle coated suggesting vessel maturation. This was associated with sustained improvement in cardiac function and modification of the scar characteristics. The final aim of this thesis was to establish whether the effect of the knock out could be recapitulated by administration of a small molecule inhibitor of 11HSD1 after MI. Oral administration of the 11HSD1 inhibitor had no effect on inflammation, angiogenesis and heart function as determined at 7 days post-MI relative to vehicle treated animals. In conclusion, the data confirm the enhancement in vessel density and cardiac function in 11HSD1-/- mice and demonstrate that this was preceded by enhanced inflammation. This was not due to an underlying cardiac phenotype or modification of the infarct size. Increased infiltration of alternatively activated macrophages may have been the source of pro-angiogenic factor, IL-8, which was also increased at the time of angiogenesis. Importantly the enhanced vessel density was retained 4 weeks after MI, these vessels were mature suggesting longevity and the improvement in cardiac function was retained. While pharmacological inhibition did not recapitulate the effect of the knock out this may have been due to route of administration. The data provides compelling evidence that further development and use of small molecule inhibitors of 11HSD1 may be of benefit post-MI.