There is increasing evidence that angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) is an endogenous biologically active component of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). In the present study, we investigated the effects of Ang-(1-7) on reperfusion arrhythmias in isolated rat hearts. Isolated rat hearts were perfused with two different media, i.e., Krebs-Ringer (2.52 mM CaCl2) and low-Ca2+ Krebs-Ringer (1.12 mM CaCl2). In hearts perfused with Krebs-Ringer, Ang-(1-7) produced a concentration-dependent (27-210 nM) reduction in coronary flow (25% reduction at highest concentration), while only slight and variable changes in contraction force and heart rate were observed. Under the same conditions, angiotensin II (Ang II; 27 and 70 nM) produced a significant reduction in coronary flow (39% and 48%, respectively) associated with a significant increase in force. A decrease in heart rate was also observed. In low-Ca2+ Krebs-Ringer solution, perfusion with Ang-(1-7) or Ang II at 27 nM concentration produced similar changes in coronary flow, contraction force and heart rate. In isolated hearts perfused with normal Krebs-Ringer, Ang-(1-7) produced a significant enhancement of reperfusion arrhythmias revealed by an increase in the incidence and duration of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation (more than 30-min duration). The facilitation of reperfusion arrhythmias by Ang-(1-7) was associated with an increase in the magnitude of the decreased force usually observed during the post-ischemic period. The effects of Ang-(1-7) were abolished in isolated rat hearts perfused with low-Ca2+ Krebs-Ringer. The effect of Ang II (27 nM) was similar but less pronounced than that of Ang-(1-7) at the same concentration. These results indicate that the heart is a site of action for Ang-(1-7) and suggest that this heptapeptide may be involved in the mediation of the cardiac effects of the RA
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