Serelaxin, recombinant human relaxin-2, modulates endothelial vasodilatory functionality and is under evaluation for treatment of acute heart failure. Little is known about acute effects on cerebral perfusion. We tested the hypothesis that Serelaxin might also have effects on the cerebral microcirculation in a sheep model, which resembles human brain structure quite well. We used laser Doppler flowmetry and sidestream dark-field (SDF) imaging techniques, which are reliable tools to continuously assess dynamic changes in cerebral perfusion. Laser Doppler flowmetry shows that bolus injection of 30 μg Serelaxin/kg body wt induces an increase (P = 0.006) to roughly 150% of cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF), whereas subcortical CBF remains unchanged (P = 0.688). The effects on area-dependent CBF were significantly different after the bolus injection (P = 0.042). Effects on cortical CBF were further confirmed by SDF imaging. The bolus injection of Serelaxin increased total vessel density to 127% (P = 0.00046), perfused vessel density to 145% (P = 0.024), and perfused capillary density to 153% (P = 0.024). Western blotting confirmed the expression of relaxin receptors RXFP1 and truncated RXFP2-variants in the respective brain regions, suggesting a possible contribution of RXFP1 on the effects of Serelaxin. In conclusion, the injection of a high dose of Serelaxin exerts quick effects on the cerebral microcirculation. Therefore, Serelaxin might be suitable to improve cortical microcirculation and exert neuroprotective effects in clinically relevant scenarios that involve cortical hypoperfusion. These findings need to be confirmed in relevant experimental settings involving cerebral cortical hypoperfusion and can possibly be translated into clinical practice.
- cerebral blood flow
- relaxin receptors
- sheep model
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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