The beneficial effect of ACE inhibitors on cardiovascular remodelling from hypertension and ischemic disease may be due to the effect of these drugs on the proliferation/cell death balance. We therefore investigated the effect of the addition of captopril in vitro, on the onset of apoptosis in human vascular myocytes, by using a propidium iodide fluorescence analysis and a morphological analysis using the acridine orange technique. Captopril (0.23 mM) caused an increase in apoptotic phenomena that was more than 3. 5-fold than in controls both at the 24th (7.7 vs. 2%) and the 48th h (10.1 vs. 3.8%). The addition of propranolol strengthened the effect on apoptosis. The induction of apoptotic phenomena may be a mechanism by which ACE inhibitors affect cardiovascular remodelling and it might also explain the favorable effect these drugs have on diseases such as IgA nephropathy and diabetic nephropathy.
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