The phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor vardenafil improves cardiovascular dysfunction in experimental diabetes mellitus

T. Radovits, T. Bömicke, G. Kökény, R. Arif, S. Loganathan, K. Kécsán, S. Korkmaz, E. Barnucz, P. Sandner, M. Karck, G. Szabó

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Background and purpose: Patients with diabetes mellitus exhibit generalized endothelial and cardiac dysfunction with decreased nitric oxide production. Elevated intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels contribute to an effective cardioprotection in different pathophysiological conditions. In this study, we investigated whether chronic treatment with the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor vardenafil could improve diabetic cardiovascular dysfunction by up-regulating the nitric oxide-cGMP pathway in the vessel wall and myocardium. Experimental approach: Diabetes was induced in young rats by a single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (60 mg·kg -1). In the treatment group, vardenafil (10 mg·kg -1·day -1) was given orally for 8 weeks. Diabetic control animals received vehicle for the same time. Left ventricular pressure-volume relations were measured by using a microtip Millar pressure-volume conductance catheter, and indexes of contractility, such as the slope of end-systolic pressure-volume relationship (E max) and preload recruitable stroke work (PRSW), were calculated. In organ bath experiments for isometric tension with rings of isolated aortae, endothelium-dependent and independent vasorelaxation was investigated by using acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside. Key results: When compared with the non-diabetic controls, diabetic rats showed increased myocardial and vascular transforming growth factor-β1 expression, impaired left ventricular contractility (impairment of E max by 53%, PRSW by 40%; P < 0.05) and vascular dysfunction. Treatment with vardenafil resulted in higher cGMP levels, reduced transforming growth factor-β1 expression, significantly improved cardiac function (improvement of E max by 95%, PRSW by 69%; P < 0.05) and greater vasorelaxation to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside in aortae from diabetic animals. Conclusions and implications: Our results demonstrate that impaired vascular cGMP signalling contributes to the development of diabetic vascular and cardiac dysfunction, which can be prevented by chronic phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-919
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2009


  • CGMP
  • Cardiac function
  • Diabetes
  • Phosphodiesterase-5
  • Vascular function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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    Radovits, T., Bömicke, T., Kökény, G., Arif, R., Loganathan, S., Kécsán, K., Korkmaz, S., Barnucz, E., Sandner, P., Karck, M., & Szabó, G. (2009). The phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor vardenafil improves cardiovascular dysfunction in experimental diabetes mellitus. British Journal of Pharmacology, 156(6), 909-919.