Journal of the American Heart Association

Combined Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitors Improve Cardiac and Vascular Function Via Increased NO Bioavailability in Heart Failure.

PMID 29502102


There is a paucity of data about the mechanisms by which sacubitril/valsartan (also known as LCZ696) improves outcomes in patients with heart failure. Specifically, the effects of sacubitril/valsartan on vascular function and NO bioavailability have not been investigated. We hypothesized that sacubitril/valsartan therapy increases circulating NO levels and improves vascular function in the setting of heart failure. Male spontaneously hypertensive rats underwent myocardial ischemia/reperfusion surgery to induce heart failure and were followed for up to 12 weeks with serial echocardiography. Rats received sacubitril/valsartan (68 mg/kg), valsartan (31 mg/kg), or vehicle starting at 4 weeks after reperfusion. At 8 or 12 weeks of reperfusion, animals were euthanized and tissues were collected for ex vivo analyses of NO bioavailability, aortic vascular reactivity, myocardial and vascular histology, and cardiac molecular assays. Left ventricular structure and function were improved by both valsartan and sacubitril/valsartan compared with vehicle. Sacubitril/valsartan resulted in superior cardiovascular benefits, as evidenced by sustained improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction and end-diastolic pressure. Ex vivo vascular function, as measured by aortic vasorelaxation responses to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside, was significantly improved by valsartan and sacubitril/valsartan, with more sustained improvements afforded by sacubitril/valsartan. Furthermore, myocardial NO bioavailability was significantly enhanced in animals receiving sacubitril/valsartan therapy. Sacubitril/valsartan offers superior cardiovascular protection in heart failure and improves vascular function to a greater extent than valsartan alone. Sacubitril/valsartan-mediated improvements in cardiac and vascular function are likely related to increases in NO bioavailability and explain, in part, the benefits beyond angiotensin receptor blockade.