Spironolactone increases nitric oxide bioactivity, improves endothelial vasodilator dysfunction, and suppresses vascular angiotensin I/angiotensin II conversion in patients with chronic heart failure

Colin A. J. Farquharson, Allan D. Struthers

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    Abstract

    Background—The RALES study showed that spironolactone, added to conventional therapy for chronic heart failure, dramatically reduced mortality. We tested the hypothesis that this benefit was partially due to improvement in endothelial function and/or to amplified suppression of the vascular renin-angiotensin axis.

    Methods and Results—We performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study on 10 patients with NYHA class II to III chronic heart failure on standard diuretic/ACE inhibitor therapy, comparing 50 mg/d spironolactone (1 month) versus placebo. Forearm vasculature endothelial function was assessed by bilateral forearm venous occlusion plethysmography using acetylcholine and N-monomethyl-l-arginine (L-NMMA), with sodium nitroprusside as a control vasodilator. Also, vascular ACE activity was assessed by use of angiotensin (Ang) I, with Ang II as a control vasoconstrictor. Spironolactone significantly increased the forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine (percentage change in forearm blood flow [mean±SEM], 177±29% versus 95±20%, spironolactone versus placebo; P<0.001), with an associated increase in vasoconstriction due to L-NMMA (-35±6% versus -18±4%; P<0.05). The Ang I response was also significantly reduced with spironolactone (P<0.05), with Ang II responses unaltered.

    Conclusions—Spironolactone improves endothelial dysfunction, increases NO bioactivity, and inhibits vascular Ang I/Ang II conversion in patients with heart failure, providing novel mechanisms for its beneficial effect on cardiovascular mortality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)594-597
    Number of pages4
    JournalCirculation
    Volume101
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

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