It has been shown that electrical stimulation can improve tissue repair in patients. Imbalances in the extracellular matrix composition induce manifestation of heart failure. Here we investigated the application of microcurrent (MC) to modulate the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo to reverse remodelling in the heart in spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR).
Cardiomyocytes from young SHR (7months) and old SHR (14months) were stimulated in vitro and in vivo with MC. MMP and TIMP expression were analysed by qPCR and immunofluorescence to evaluate the modulation of MC treatment.
Modulation of cardiomyocytes with MC enhances proliferation with no morphological changes in vitro. By electrical stimulation dual effects, increase and decrease, on MMP2, MMP9, TIMP3, and TIMP4 mRNA as well as protein expression were observed, depending on the age of the cardiomyocytes. In our in vivo study, MC downregulated MMP2, MMP9, and TIMP4 and increased TIMP3 in young SHR. In old SHR MMP2, MMP9, and TIMP4 were upregulated, whereas TIMP3 was unaffected.
Our data indicate that treatment of MC can modulate the expression of MMPs and TIMPs in vitro and in vivo in SHR. Based on these results new treatments for heart failure could be developed.