Levosimendan improves cardiac function and survival in rats with angiotensin II-induced hypertensive heart failure


  • A. Biala
  • E. Martonen
  • P. Kaheinen
  • J. Levijoki
  • P. Finckenberg
  • S. Merasto
  • M. Louhelainen
  • D.N. Mueller
  • F.C. Luft
  • E. Mervaala


  • Hypertension Research


  • Hypertens Res 33 (10): 1004-1011


  • Calcium-sensitizing agents improve cardiac function in acute heart failure; however, their long-term effects on cardiovascular mortality are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that levosimendan, an inodilator that acts through calcium sensitization, opening of ATP-dependent potassium channels and phosphodiesterase III inhibition, improves cardiac function and survival in double transgenic rats harboring human renin and angiotensinogen genes (dTGRs), a model of angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced hypertensive heart failure. Levosimendan (1 mg kg(-1)) was administered orally to 4-week-old dTGRs and normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats for 4 weeks. Untreated dTGRs developed severe hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure with impaired diastolic relaxation, and exhibited a high mortality rate at the age of 8 weeks. Levosimendan did not decrease blood pressure and did not prevent cardiac hypertrophy. However, levosimendan improved systolic function, decreased cardiac atrial natriuretic peptide mRNA expression, ameliorated Ang II-induced cardiac damage and decreased mortality. Levosimendan did not correct Ang II-induced diastolic dysfunction and did not influence heart rate. In a separate survival study, levosimendan increased dTGR survival by 58% and median survival time by 27% (P=0.004). Our findings suggest that levosimendan ameliorates Ang II-induced hypertensive heart failure and reduces mortality. The results also support the notion that the effects of levosimendan in dTGRs are mediated by blood pressure-independent mechanisms and include improved systolic function and amelioration of Ang II-induced coronary and cardiomyocyte damage.