Amos Levi MD, Dorit Leshem-Lev Phd, Adaya Weissler-Snir MD, Tal Hasin MD, Israel Mats MD, Daniel Murninkas MD, Ran Kornowski MD, Eli I. Lev MD and Tuvia Ben-Gal, MD
Background: Circulating endothelial progenitor cells have an important role in the process of vascular repair. Impaired recruitment and function of endothelial progenitor cells is related to the pathophysiology of congestive heart failure. Endothelial progenitor cells have been shown to express the mineralocorticoid receptor.
Objectives: To investigate the effect of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists on endothelial progenitor cells in patients with heart failure.
Methods: Twenty-four patients with compensated heart failure, who were not under mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist therapy, were recruited. Either eplerenone (n=8) or spironolactone (n=16) therapy was initiated. Circulating endothelial progenitor cell level, identified as the proportion of mononuclear cells expressing vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), CD133, and CD34, was evaluated by flow cytometry at baseline and after 8 weeks. Following 7 days of culture, colonies were counted by microscopy and MTT assay was performed on randomly selected patients (n=12) to estimate viability.
Results: Both median CD34+/VEGFR2+ and median CD133+/VEGFR2+ increased significantly (P = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively). However, the number of colonies and viability of the cells after therapy (as assessed by the MTT assay) was not significantly different compared with the baseline.
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that mineralocorticoid receptor blockade may enhance endothelial progenitor cells recruitment in patients with compensated heart failure.