Differential effects of captopril and enalapril on tissue renin-angiotensin systems in experimental heart failure

Alan T Hirsch, C. E. Talsness, A. D. Smith, H. Schunkert, J. R. Ingelfinger, V. J. Dzau

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70 Scopus citations


Background. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy elicits beneficial responses from patients with heart failure. We hypothesized that a major site of action of these drugs is tissue ACE and that ACE inhibitors might differ in their ability to inhibit tissue ACE. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the effects of captopril and enalapril on blood pressure and renal function and on serum and tissue ACE activities in sham-operated rats and rats with heart failure induced by coronary artery ligation. Methods and Results. During short-term (1-week) treatment, captopril (200 mg·kg-1·day-1) and enalapril (25 mg·kg-1·day-1) elicited equipotent effects on blood pressure and inhibition of serum ACE activity (85%). The effects of long-term treatment (47 days) were then studied beginning 45±5 days after coronary ligation in four treatment groups: sham-operated, vehicle (n=14); heart failure, vehicle (n=10); heart failure, captopril (n=8); and heart failure, enalapril rats (n=7). During long-term treatment, captopril and enalapril caused comparable falls of 12-18 mm Hg in blood pressure (p<0.01 compared with vehicle treatment). There was no change in urine volume or sodium or potassium excretion in vehicle-or captopril-treated heart failure rats; in contrast, enalapril-treated heart failure rats demonstrated 83% and 10% increases in urine volume and daily sodium excretion, respectively, compared with vehicle-treated rats (both p≤0.01). No significant changes in blood urea nitrogen or creatinine were observed with either treatment. Enalapril but not captopril elicited a significant decrease in serum and lung ACE activities. Captopril but not enalapril inhibited aortic ACE activity. Both agents caused a comparable inhibition of renal ACE activity. The magnitude of inhibition of renal ACE activity but not serum and vascular (aortic) ACE activities correlated with the long-term blood pressure response. Enalapril but not captopril normalized renal angiotensinogen expression; the magnitude of this effect correlated with the increase in daily urinary sodium excretion (r=-0.43; p≤0.005). Conclusions. These data suggest that chronic treatment with these two agents elicits differential effects on tissue ACE activities and renal angiotensinogen regulation. The differential renal effects of these agents may be important in the treatment of heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1566-1574
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Angiotensin II
  • Angiotensin converting enzymes
  • Angiotensinogen
  • Myocardial infarction


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