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Journal of the American Heart Association


BACKGROUND: The renal sympathetic nervous system modulates systemic blood pressure, cardiac performance, and renal function. Pathological increases in renal sympathetic nerve activity contribute to the pathogenesis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). We investigated the effects of renal sympathetic denervation performed at early or late stages of HFpEF progression. METHODS AND RESULTS: Male ZSF1 obese rats were subjected to radiofrequency renal denervation (RF-RDN) or sham procedure at either 8 weeks or 20 weeks of age and assessed for cardiovascular function, exercise capacity, and cardiorenal fibrosis. Renal norepinephrine and renal nerve tyrosine hydroxylase staining were performed to quantify denervation following RF-RDN. In addition, renal injury, oxidative stress, inflammation, and profibrotic biomarkers were evaluated to determine pathways associated with RDN. RF-RDN significantly reduced renal norepinephrine and tyrosine hydroxylase content in both study cohorts. RF-RDN therapy performed at 8 weeks of age attenuated cardiac dysfunction, reduced cardiorenal fibrosis, and improved endothelial-dependent vascular reactivity. These improvements were associated with reductions in renal injury markers, expression of renal NLR family pyrin domain containing 3/interleukin 1β, and expression of profibrotic mediators. RF-RDN failed to exert beneficial effects when administered in the 20-week-old HFpEF cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that early RF-RDN therapy protects against HFpEF disease progression in part due to the attenuation of renal fibrosis and inflammation. In contrast, the renoprotective and left ventricular functional improvements were lost when RF-RDN was performed in later HFpEF progression. These results suggest that RDN may be a viable treatment option for HFpEF during the early stages of this systemic inflammatory disease.

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