[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyaluronan (HA) is abundantly expressed in several human tissues and a variety of roles for HA has been highlighted. Particularly relevant for tissue repair, HA is actively produced during tissue injury, as widely evidenced in wound healing investigations. In the heart HA is involved in physiological functions, such as cardiac development during embryogenesis, and in pathological conditions including atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Moreover, owing to its relevant biological properties, HA has been widely used as a biomaterial for heart regeneration after a myocardial infarction. Indeed, HA and its derivatives are biodegradable and biocompatible, promote faster healing of injured tissues, and support cells in relevant processes including survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Injectable HA-based therapies for cardiovascular disease are gaining growing attention because of the benefits obtained in preclinical models of myocardial infarction. HA-based hydrogels, especially as a vehicle for stem cells, have been demonstrated to improve the process of cardiac repair by stimulating angiogenesis, reducing inflammation, and supporting local and grafted cells in their reparative functions. Solid-state HA-based scaffolds have been also investigated to produce constructs hosting mesenchymal stem cells or endothelial progenitor cells to be transplanted onto the infarcted surface of the heart. Finally, applying an ex-vivo mechanical stretching, stem cells grown in HA-based 3D scaffolds can further increase extracellular matrix production and proneness to differentiate into muscle phenotypes, thus suggesting a potential strategy to create a suitable engineered myocardial tissue for cardiac regeneration.
Journal of biomedical science. 10/2014; 21(1):100.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We tested the hypothesis that cardiac regeneration through local delivery of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), activation of resident cardiac stem cells via growth factors (GFs) [hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1):GFs] or both, are improved by pharmacologically active microcarriers (PAMs) interacting with cells/molecules conveyed on their surface. Rats with one-month old myocardial infarction were treated with ASCs, ASCs+PAMs, GF-releasing PAMs, ASCs+GF-releasing PAMs or vehicle. Two weeks later, hemodynamic function and inducibility of ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) were assessed. Eventually, the hearts were subjected to anatomical and immunohistochemical analyses. A significant ASCs engraftment and the largest improvement in cardiac mechanics occurred in ASC+GF-releasing PAM rats which by contrast were more vulnerable to VAs. Thus, PAMs may improve cell/GF-based cardiac regeneration although caution should be paid on the electrophysiological impact of their physical interaction with the myocardium.
Journal of Biological Research 01/2014; · 0.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ultimate cause of heart failure (HF) is not known to date. The cytoskeleletal protein desmin is differentially modified and forms amyloid-like oligomers in HF. We postulated that desmin posttranslational modifications (PTMs) could drive aberrant desmin aggregation in HF. Therefore, we identified these PTMs and investigated their impact on desmin amyloidogenicity in human and experimental HF.Methods and ResultsWe detected increased levels of selectively phosphorylated and cleaved desmin in a canine pacing model of dyssynchronous HF (DHF) compared to either controls or animals treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). This unique animal model combines clinically relevant features with the possibility of a partly rescued phenotype. We confirmed analogous changes in desmin modifications in human HF and identified two phosphorylation sites within a Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 (GSK3) consensus sequence. Desmin-positive oligomers were also increased in DHF hearts compared to controls. Their amyloid properties were decreased by treatment with CRT or an anti-amyloid small molecule. Lastly, we confirmed GSK3's involvement with desmin phosphorylation using an in vitro model.
Based on these findings we postulate a new mechanism of cardiac toxicity based on the PMT-driven accumulation of desmin amyloid-like oligomers. Phosphorylation and cleavage as well as oligomers formation are reduced by treatment (CRT) indicating a relationship between the three. Lastly, the decrease of desmin amyloid-like oligomers with CRT or small molecules points both to a general mechanism of HF based on desmin toxicity that is independent of protein mutations and to novel potential therapies.
Cardiovascular Research 01/2014; · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural polyamines are involved in many molecular processes, including maintenance of DNA structure and RNA processing and translation. Our aim here is to present an overview of the literature concerning the significance of polyamines in the modulation of chromatin arrangement and the transcriptional regulation of gene expression. The pleiotropic picture emerging from the published data highlights that these polycations take part in apparently diverging effects, possibly depending on the heterogeneous experimental settings described, and on a methodological approach aimed at the evaluation of the global levels of the histone chemical modifications. Since the relevant changes observed appear to be rather local and gene specific, investigating histone modifications at the level of specific gene promoters of interest is thus to be recommended for future studies. Furthermore, decoding the multiple regulatory mechanisms by which polyamines exert their influence on chromatin-modifier enzymes will reasonably require focus on selected individual polyamine-regulated genes. The evaluation of the many known chromatin-remodeling enzymes for their individual susceptibility to polyamines or polyamine derivatives will also be helpful: determining how they discriminate between the different enzyme isoforms is expected to be a fruitful line of research for drug discovery, e.g., in cancer prevention and therapy. Indeed, polyamine derivatives acting as epigenetic modulators appear to be molecules with great potential as antitumor drugs. All these novel polyamine-based pharmacologically active molecules are thus promising tools, both as a stand-alone strategy and in combination with other anticancer compounds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are stromal mesenchymal stem cells isolated from lipoaspirates, and they display a broad potential to differentiate toward different lineages. The role of epigenetics in regulating the expression of their lineage-specific genes is under evaluation, however till date virtually nothing is known about the relative significance of cardiac-specific transcription factor genes in human ADSCs. The aim of this study was to investigate DNA promoter methylation and relevant histone modifications involving MEF-2C, GATA-4, and Nkx2.5 in native human ADSCs. CpG sites at the transcription start in their promoters were found unmethylated using methylation-specific PCR. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed low levels of total acetylated H3 histone (acH3) and high levels of trimethylated lysine 27 in H3 histone (H3K27me3) which were associated with both GATA-4 and Nkx2.5 promoters, indicating their transcriptional repressive chromatin arrangement. On the other hand, the opposite was apparent for MEF-2C promoter. Accordingly, MEF-2C-but not GATA-4 and Nkx2.5-transcripts were evidenced in native human ADSCs. These results suggest that the chromatin arrangement of these early cardiac regulatory genes could be explored as a level of intervention to address the differentiation of human ADSCs toward the cardiac lineage.
Cell biochemistry and biophysics 04/2013; · 3.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to investigate the blood perfusion and the inflammatory response of the myocardial infarct area after transplanting a hyaluronan-based scaffold (HYAFF® 11) with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Nine-week-old female pigs were subjected to a permanent left anterior descending coronary artery ligation for 4 weeks. According to the kind of the graft, the swine subjected to myocardial infarction were divided into the HYAFF® 11, MSCs, HYAFF® 11/MSCs and untreated groups. The animals were killed 8 weeks after coronary ligation. Scar perfusion, evaluated by Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound echography, was doubled in the HYAFF® 11/MSCs group and was comparable with the perfusion of the healthy, non-infarcted hearts. The inflammation score of the MSCs and HYAFF® 11/MSCs groups was near null, revealing the role of the grafted MSCs in attenuating the cell infiltration, but not the foreign reaction strictly localized around the fibres of the scaffold. Apart from the inflammatory response, the native tissue positively interacted with the HYAFF® 11/MSCs construct modifying the extracellular matrix with a reduced presence of collagene and increased amount of proteoglycans. The border-zone cardiomyocytes also reacted favourably to the graft as a lower degree of cellular damage was found. This study demonstrates that the transplantation in the myocardial infarct area of autologous MSCs supported by a hyaluronan-based scaffold restores blood perfusion and almost completely abolishes the inflammatory process following an infarction. These beneficial effects are superior to those obtained after grafting only the scaffold or MSCs, suggesting that a synergic action was achieved using the cell-integrated polymer construct.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 03/2013; · 4.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) are usually isolated from lipoaspirates, but it is not known if the anesthetic solution injected into adipose tissue affects cell yield and functions. Two different samples were drawn from the abdominal region of female subjects. In the first, a physiological solution containing lidocaine/adrenaline was injected (wet liposuction, WL), while in the contralateral area, the sample was collected without injecting any solution (dry liposuction, DL). The aspirates were processed to investigate the yield of the stromal-vascular fraction (SVF) cells and ASC frequency, growth rate, apoptosis, and differentiation potential. The solid dried mass of fresh WL isolates was lower than that of DL isolates (p < 0.01) due to the presence, in the former, of a liquid solution. As a consequence, the amount of WL-SVF cells was 18.7% lower than those obtained from DL (p < 0.01); this difference was also observed under culture conditions. In addition, the number of colony-forming unit-fibroblasts (CFU-Fs) obtained from 1 × 10(3) SVF cells was 25.5% lower in WL-aspirates than DL-aspirates (p < 0.05) owing, at least in part, to the observed presence of apparent diffusion coefficient in the liquid solution of the WL isolates. After WL and DL, no differences were observed in ASC growth rate, apoptosis, or differentiation potential toward adipogenic, osteogenic, and endothelial cell lineages. In conclusion, WL yields about 40% fewer ASC than DL due to the combined effect of tissue dilution and the reduced frequency of ASC in the SVF. The main biological features of ASC are suitable for cell-based therapies.
Connective tissue research 08/2012; · 1.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Permanence of grafted stem cells in the infarcted myocardial area has been suggested to be favored by tissue engineering strategies, including the application of a scaffold as a cell support. However, an estimation of how many cells remain localized in the site of transplantation has never been done. The aim of this work was to investigate the localization of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) grafted with a well cell-adhesive polymer in the scar region of the infarcted heart. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Rat MSCs were engineered in a hyaluronan-based scaffold (HYAFF(®)11) for 3 wk. The hearts of donor rats were also explanted, subjected to coronary artery ligation, and grafted into the abdomen of syngeneic rats. Two wk after coronary ligation a small dish of the HYAFF(®)11/MSC construct was introduced into a pouch created in the ventricular wall of the infarct area and left for 2 wk. RESULTS: Under ex vivo conditions, MSCs tightly adhered to the hyaluronan fibers and secreted abundant extracellular matrix. In contrast, HYAFF(®)11 was not more surrounded by the engrafted MSCs 2 wk after construct transplantation. Most MSCs migrated near the border zone of the infarcted area close to the coronary vessels. Moreover, the infarcted region of the heart was enriched in capillaries and the degree of fibrosis was attenuated. CONCLUSIONS: Two wk after transplantation most MSCs grafted in the infarcted myocardium with HYAFF(®)11 had left the scaffold and moved to the border zone. Nevertheless, this treatment increased the myocardial vascularization and reduced the degree of fibrosis in the scar area.
Journal of Surgical Research 03/2012; · 2.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis is a programmed cell death that plays a critical role in cell homeostasis. In particular, apoptosis in cardiomyocytes is involved in several cardiovascular diseases including heart failure. Recently autophagy has emerged as an important modulator of programmed cell death pathway. Recent evidence indicates that saturated fatty acids induce cell death through apoptosis and this effect is specific for palmitate. On the other hand, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been implicated in the protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiac ischemic damage and myocardial dysfunction. In the present study we show that n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) treatment to culture medium of H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts protects cells against palmitate-induced apoptosis, as well as counteracts palmitate-mediated increase of autophagy. Further investigation is required to establish whether the antiautophagic effect of EPA may be involved in its cytoprotective outcome and to explore the underlying biochemical mechanisms through which palmitate and EPA control the fate of cardiac cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The responses of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) to isoproterenol have been examined in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts, AMPK represents the link between cell growth and energy availability whereas ODC, the key enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, is essential for all growth processes and it is thought to have a role in the development of cardiac hypertrophy. Isoproterenol rapidly induced ODC activity in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts by promoting the synthesis of the enzyme protein and this effect was counteracted by inhibitors of the PI3K/Akt pathway. The increase in enzyme activity became significant between 15 and 30min after the treatment. At the same time, isoproterenol stimulated the phosphorylation of AMPKα catalytic subunits (Thr172), that was associated to an increase in acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (Ser72) phosphorylation. Downregulation of both α1 and α2 isoforms of the AMPK catalytic subunit by siRNA to knockdown AMPK enzymatic activity, led to superinduction of ODC in isoproterenol-treated cardiomyoblasts. Downregulation of AMPKα increased ODC activity even in cells treated with other adrenergic agonists and in control cells. Analogue results were obtained in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells transfected with a shRNA construct against AMPKα. In conclusion, isoproterenol quickly activates in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts two events that seem to contrast one another. The first one, an increase in ODC activity, is linked to cell growth, whereas the second, AMPK activation, is a homeostatic mechanism that negatively modulates the first. The modulation of ODC activity by AMPK represents a mechanism that may contribute to control cell growth processes.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2011; 1823(4):800-7. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thrombotic risk increases in elderly, therefore, the understanding of the genetic predisposition of hypercoagulability could make the difference in the prevention of venous and/or arterial thrombotic events. Laboratory evaluation of hyperfibrinogenemia, increased Factor VII levels, antiphospholipid antibodies presence and hyperhomocysteinemia are considered to have a consistent high predictivity for arterial thrombophilic diseases. Anyway, a large debate exists on the validity of testing Leiden Factor V (FV) G1691A and/or prothrombin (FII) G20210A polymorphisms in patients affected by arterial thrombotic diseases, despite of the several observations described. Here we report data strongly suggesting that at least the FII G20210A polymorphism might be considered an important risk factor for acute myocardial infarction in aged patients (55-80 years old). On the other hand, in spite of a not different genotypic and allelic distribution for the Leiden FV G1691A mutation, the presence of one or both the two polymorphisms is significantly higher among cases than in controls. In conclusion, our data suggest that FII G20210A and/or Leiden FV might be involved as risk factor for arterial disorders in about 5% of old subjects, justifying the opportunity of a genetic screening and an eventual preventive treatment, in particular in old subjects in which other and major risk factors, as hypertension and atherosclerosis, are detected.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the first enzyme of polyamine metabolism, is rapidly upregulated in response to agents that induce a pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Transgenic mice overexpressing ODC in the heart (MHC-ODC mice) experience a much more dramatic left ventricular hypertrophy in response to β-adrenergic stimulation with isoproterenol (ISO) compared to wild-type (WT) controls. ISO also induced arginase activity in transgenic hearts but not in controls. The current work studies the cooperation between the cardiac polyamines and L-arginine (L-Arg) availability in MHC-ODC mice. Although ISO-induced hypertrophy is well-compensated, MHC-ODC mice administered L-Arg along with ISO showed a rapid onset of systolic dysfunction and died within 48 h. Myocytes isolated from MHC-ODC mice administered L-Arg/ISO exhibited reduced contractility and altered calcium transients, suggesting an alteration in [Ca(2+)] homeostasis, and abbreviated action potential duration, which may contribute to arrhythmogenesis. The already elevated levels of spermidine and spermine were not further altered in MHC-ODC hearts by L-Arg/ISO treatment, suggesting alternative L-Arg utilization pathways lead to dysregulation of intracellular calcium. MHC-ODC mice administered an arginase inhibitor (Nor-NOHA) along with ISO died almost as rapidly as L-Arg/ISO-treated mice, while the iNOS inhibitor S-methyl-isothiourea (SMT) was strongly protective against L-Arg/ISO. These results point to the induction of arginase as a protective response to β-adrenergic stimulation in the setting of high polyamines. Further, NO generated by exogenously supplied L-Arg may contribute to the lethal consequences of L-Arg/ISO treatment. Since considerable variations in human cardiac polyamine and L-Arg content are likely, it is possible that alterations in these factors may influence myocyte contractility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies report that the primary transmitter of sympathetic nervous system norepinephrine (NE), which is actively produced in failing human heart, is able to induce apoptosis of rat cardiomyocytes. Apoptotic cell death of cardiomyocytes is involved in several cardiovascular diseases including ischemia, hypertrophy and heart failure, therefore representing a potential therapeutic target. The natural occurring polyamines, putrescine, spermidine and spermine, are biogenic amines involved in many cellular processes, including apoptosis. Thus, we have studied the involvement of polyamines in the apoptosis of cardiac cells induced by the treatment with NE. The results indicate that NE caused an early induction of the activity of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the first enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, followed by a later increase of apoptotic cell death. This effect was prevented in the presence of α-difluoromethylornithine, an irreversible inhibitor of ODC. Moreover, the study of some key signal transduction pathways revealed an involvement of AMP-activated protein kinase, AKT and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, in the modulation by polyamines of the response of cardiomyocytes to NE. In fact, polyamine-depleted cells showed an altered activation pattern of these kinases that may contrast apoptosis and appeared to result from a differential effect on the specific phosphatases that dephosphorylate and switch off these signaling proteins. In conclusion, these results indicate that in cardiac cells polyamines are involved in the execution of the death program activated by NE, and suggest that their apoptosis facilitating action is mediated by a network of specific phosphatases and kinases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene variants that promote inflammation and cholesterol metabolism have been associated with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We investigated a panel of relevant polymorphisms to distinguish genetic backgrounds for AMI and AD: IL10 -1082G/A, IL6 -174G/C, TNF -308G/A, IFNG +874T/A, SERPINA3 -51G/T, HMGCR -911C/A, APOE ε2/3/4 (280 AMI cases, 257 AD cases, and 1307 population controls, all Italian (presumed risk alleles are shown in bold). Six genetic risk sets I to VI were identified by fuzzy latent classification: I had low risk; II and III had low risk before age 65 (II, III); low risk sets lacked pro-inflammatory alleles for HMGCR-TNF-APOE. Pro-inflammatory alleles for SERPINA3-IL10-IFNG were found for high risk sets IV to VI. Set IV 'AMI < age 40, AD < age 65' included risk alleles for HMGCR. Set V 'AMI over a broad range of age' included risk alleles for TNF+IL6. Set VI 'AMI at ages 40 to 55, AD ages 65+' included APOE ε4. Close resemblance to the high risk sets, as indicated by membership scores close to one, defined high relative risks. We conclude that AMI and AD share genetic backgrounds involving cholesterol metabolism and the upregulation of inflammation and that gene-gene interactions in relevant sets of genes may be useful in defining inherited risk for common disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to compare different cell sources and culture conditions to obtain endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) with predictable antigen pattern, proliferation potential and in vitro vasculogenesis. Pig mononuclear cells were isolated from blood (PBMCs) and bone marrow (BMMCs). Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were also derived from pig bone marrow. Cells were cultured on fibronectin in the presence of a high concentration of VEGF and low IGF-1 and FGF-2 levels, or on gelatin with a lower amount of VEGF and higher IGF-1 and FGF-2 concentrations. Endothelial commitment was relieved in almost all PBMCs and BMMCs irrespective of the protocol used, whilst MSCs did not express a reliable pattern of EPC markers under these conditions. BMMCs were more prone to expand on gelatin and showed a better viability than PBMCs. Moreover, about 90% of the BMMCs pre-cultured on gelatin could adhere to a hyaluronan-based scaffold and proliferate on it up to 3 days. Pre-treatment of BMMCs on fibronectin generated well-shaped tubular structures on Matrigel, whilst BMMCs exposed to the gelatin culture condition were less prone to form vessel-like structures. MSCs formed rough tubule-like structures, irrespective of the differentiating condition used. In a relative short time, pig BMMCs could be expanded on gelatin better than PBMCs, in the presence of a low amount of VEGF. BMMCs could better specialize for capillary formation in the presence of fibronectin and an elevated concentration of VEGF, whilst pig MSCs anyway showed a limited capability to differentiate into the endothelial cell lineage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate how long-term cardioplegia/reperfusion affects cardiac nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3). To this aim, rat hearts were mounted in a perfusion apparatus and equilibrated with a modified Krebs-Henseleit solution (KH). The hearts were then arrested by soaking them in cold St. Thomas Hospital II solution (STH) for 5, 7, and 15 h. Reperfusion was performed by low-flow cold STH delivering for 1 h followed by 15-min aerobic normothermic KH perfusion. Cardioplegia preserved the amount of NOS3 irrespective of the duration of the cardiac arrest. NOS3 content was also unaffected by reperfusion following 5 and 7 h of cardioplegia. On the contrary, reperfusion performed after 15 h of cardioplegia caused a marked reduction in the amount of NOS3 protein, in both endothelial and cardiac muscle cells, and NOS activity. The involvement of intracellular proteolysis as a cause of reduction in NOS3 cardiac level was then investigated by delivering 0.1 mmol/L of either calpain I and II inhibitors or 0.05 mmol/L leupeptin during heart reperfusion. Only the treatment with leupeptin preserved NOS3, indicating that lysosomal proteases rather then cytoplasmic calpains were mainly responsible for the cleavage of this enzyme. The observed decrease in GSH/GSSG ratio and activation of JNK in the reperfused heart suggested that proteolysis could be triggered by reactive oxygen species.
Journal of Surgical Research 11/2010; 164(1):e27-35. · 2.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The natural diamine putrescine and polyamines spermidine and spermine belong to a family of low-molecular-weight organic polycations that are classically known to be important mediators of cell growth, proliferation and division. Several studies are nowadays available about the involvement of polyamines in various aspects -such as growth, differen-tiation and death -of cardiac cells, under physiological and pathological conditions. Polyamine metabolism and effects, and their relation with a number of extracellular signals and intracellular transductional cascades, have been investigated in cellular and animal models -comprising cultures of embryo, neonatal and adult primary cardiomyocytes, heart-derived cell lines, and stem cells, as well as wild-type and transgenic animals. Significant evidence for their critical role in (mal)adaptive cardiac (patho)physiology emerges from this extensive literature suggesting that, in principle, polyamine metabolism may constitute a target for treatment of cardiovascular diseases. In the present paper we have reviewed these studies.
Open Heart Failure Journal 01/2010; 310(25):25-30.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that aldosterone may play a critical role in the transition to heart failure and that heart is a direct target of the action of aldosterone, which can provoke hypertrophy and apoptosis of isolated cardiomyocytes and also increase the expression of genes that favor tissue fibrosis. Early work from this and other laboratories has established a link between the aliphatic polyamines and cardiac hypertrophy, while more recently an involvement of polyamines even in cell death and survival has emerged. In the present study we have treated cardiac cells, i.e. rat H9c2 cardiomyoblasts and neonatal cardiomyocytes, with (D, L)-2-(difluoromethyl)ornithine, a specific inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis, to investigate the effects of polyamines in relation to the hypertrophic, pro-fibrotic and pro-apoptotic actions of aldosterone. The results indicate that inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis may prevent or attenuate the adverse actions of aldosterone, by modulating the expression of genes related to cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, as well as the levels of proteins and the activities of enzymes that control apoptosis.