Rotigaptide (formerly ZP123) is a novel antiarrhythmic peptide that prevents uncoupling of connexin 43 (Cx43)-mediated, gap junction communication during acute metabolic stress. Since rotigaptide's long-term effects on Cx43 are unknown, we studied its effect on Cx43 protein levels at 24 h in neonatal ventricular myocytes. As determined by Western blot analysis, rotigaptide produced a dose-dependent increase in Cx43 protein expression that reached a maximum level at 100 nM. Furthermore, 100 nM rotigaptide markedly increased Cx43 immunoreactivity and Cx43-positive gap junctions as observed in immunocytochemical studies.
Treatment with non-selective drugs (eg, long-chain alcohols, halothane) that reduce gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) is associated with reduced infarct size after myocardial infarction (MI). Therefore, it has been suggested that gap junction intercellular communication stimulating compounds may increase infarct size. The antiarrhythmic peptide analogue rotigaptide (ZP123) increases cardiac gap junction intercellular communication and the purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of rotigaptide treatment on infarct size. Myocardial infarction was induced in male rats by ligation of the left anterior descending artery (LAD). Rats (n = 156) were treated with rotigaptide at three dose levels or vehicle from the onset of ischemia and for 3 weeks following LAD occlusion. Infarct size was determined using histomorphometry after 3 weeks treatment. Rotigaptide treatment producing steady state plasma levels of 0.8 +/- 0.1, 5.5 +/- 0.5, and 86 +/- 8 nmol/L had no effect on mortality, but reduced infarct size to 90 +/- 10% (P = 0.41), 67 +/- 7% (P = 0.005), and 82 +/- 7% (P = 0.13), respectively relative to vehicle-treated myocardial infarction rats (100 +/- 12%). In contrast to what was predicted, our data demonstrates that rotigaptide treatment was associated with a significant infarct size reduction. We conclude that whereas treatment with non-selective inhibitors of gap junction intercellular communication cause a reduction in infarct size, this information cannot be extrapolated to the effects of compounds that selectively increase gap junction intercellular communication.
Haugan, K., Marcussen, N., Kjølbye, A. L., Nielsen, M. S., Hennan, J. K., & Petersen, J. S. (2006). Treatment with the gap junction modifier rotigaptide (ZP123) reduces infarct size in rats with chronic myocardial infarction. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology, 47(2), 236-242.
We investigated the effects of rotigaptide (ZP123), a stable hexapeptide with antiarrhythmic properties, on gap junction mediated intercellular communication in contracting rat neonatal cardiac myocytes, HL-1 cells derived from cardiac atrium and in HeLa cells transfected with cDNA encoding Cx43-GFP, Cx32-GFP, Cx26-GFP, wild-type Cx43 or wild-type Cx26. Intercellular communication was monitored before and after treatment with rotigaptide following microinjection of small fluorescent dyes (MW<1 kDa). The communication-modifying effect of rotigaptide was confined to cells expressing Cx43 since the peptide had no effect on dye transfer in HeLa cells expressing Cx32-GFP, Cx26-GFP or wild-type Cx26. In contrast, HeLa cells expressing Cx43-GFP exposed to 50 nM rotigaptide for 5 h showed a 40% increase in gap junction mediated communication. Rotigaptide (50 nM) increased intercellular dye transfer in myocytes and atrial HL-1 cells, where Cx43 is the dominant connexin. However, it caused no change in cell beating rates of cardiac myocytes. Western blot analysis showed that rotigaptide did not modify the overall level of Cx43 expression and changes in the phosphorylation status of the protein were not observed.We conclude that the effects of rotigaptide were confined to cells expressing Cx43.
Clarke, T. C., Thomas, D., Petersen, J. S., Evans, W. H., & Martin, P. E. (2006). The antiarrhythmic peptide rotigaptide (ZP123) increases gap junction intercellular communication in cardiac myocytes and HeLa cells expressing connexin 43. British journal of pharmacology, 147(5), 486-495.
Rotigaptide reduces myocardial infarction size in a porcine model and protects from IRI-related endothelial dysfunction in man. Rotigaptide may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of myocardial infarction.
Pedersen, C. M., Venkatasubramanian, S., Vase, H., Hyldebrandt, J. A., Contractor, H., Schmidt, M. R., ... & Lang, N. N. (2016). Rotigaptide protects the myocardium and arterial vasculature from ischaemia reperfusion injury. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 81(6), 1037-1045.