Relaxin and atrial natriuretic peptide pathways participate in the anti-fibrotic effect of a melon concentrate in spontaneously hypertensive rats

  • Julie Carillon
  • Audrey Gauthier
  • Sandy Barial
  • Michel Tournier
  • Nathalie Gayrard
  • Anne-Dominique Lajoix
  • Bernard Jover Montpellier University, Faculty of Pharmacy - EA7288
Keywords: Cardiomyocyte, Endogenous antioxidant defense, Fibrosis, Oxidative stress, Relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 1


Background: In spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), a model of human essential hypertension, oxidative stress is involved in the development of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis associated with hypertension. Dietary supplementation with agents exhibiting antioxidant properties could have a beneficial effect in remodeling of the heart. We previously demonstrated a potent anti-hypertrophic effect of a specific melon (Cucumis melo L.) concentrate with antioxidant properties in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Relaxin and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) were reported to reduce collagen deposition and fibrosis progression in various experimental models.

Objective: The aim of the present investigation was to test the hypothesis that, beside reduction in oxidative stress, the melon concentrate may act through relaxin, its receptor (relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 1, RXFP1), and ANP in SHR.

Design and results: The melon concentrate, given orally during 4 days, reduced cardiomyocyte size (by 25%) and totally reversed cardiac collagen content (Sirius red staining) in SHR but not in their normotensive controls. Treatment with the melon concentrate lowered cardiac nitrotyrosine-stained area (by 45%) and increased by 17–19% the cardiac expression (Western blot) of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase. In addition, plasma relaxin concentration was normalized while cardiac relaxin (Western blot) was lowered in treated SHR. Cardiac relaxin receptor level determined by immunohistochemical analysis increased only in treated SHR. Similarly, the melon concentrate reversed the reduction of plasma ANP concentration and lowered its cardiac expression.

Conclusions: The present results demonstrate that reversal of cardiac fibrosis by the melon concentrate involves antioxidant defenses, as well as relaxin and ANP pathways restoration. It is suggested that dietary SOD supplementation could be a useful additional strategy against cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis.

Keywords: cardiomyocyte; endogenous antioxidant defense; fibrosis; oxidative stress; relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 1

(Published: 12 April 2016)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 30985 -


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How to Cite
Carillon J., Gauthier A., Barial S., Tournier M., Gayrard N., Lajoix A.-D., & Jover B. (2016). Relaxin and atrial natriuretic peptide pathways participate in the anti-fibrotic effect of a melon concentrate in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Food & Nutrition Research, 60.
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