Stimulation of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) by riociguat attenuates heart failure and pathological cardiac remodelling

Julia Rüdebusch, Alexander Benkner, Neetika Nath, Lina Fleuch, Lars Kaderali, Karina Grube, Karin Klingel, Gertrud Eckstein, Thomas Meitinger, Jens Fielitz, Stephan B. Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Heart failure is associated with an impaired NO–soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC)–cGMP pathway and its augmentation is thought to be beneficial for its therapy. We hypothesized that stimulation of sGC by the sGC stimulator riociguat prevents pathological cardiac remodelling and heart failure in response to chronic pressure overload. Experimental Approach: Transverse aortic constriction or sham surgery was performed in C57BL/6N mice. After 3 weeks of transverse aortic constriction when heart failure was established, animals receive either riociguat or its vehicle for 5 additional weeks. Cardiac function was evaluated weekly by echocardiography. Eight weeks after surgery, histological analyses were performed to evaluate remodelling and the transcriptome of the left ventricles (LVs) was analysed by RNA sequencing. Cell culture experiments were used for mechanistically studies. Key Results: Transverse aortic constriction resulted in a continuous decrease of LV ejection fraction and an increase in LV mass until week 3. Five weeks of riociguat treatment resulted in an improved LV ejection fraction and a decrease in the ratio of left ventricular mass to total body weight (LVM/BW), myocardial fibrosis and myocyte cross-sectional area. RNA sequencing revealed that riociguat reduced the expression of myocardial stress and remodelling genes (e.g. Nppa, Nppb, Myh7 and collagen) and attenuated the activation of biological pathways associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Riociguat reversed pathological stress response in cultivated myocytes and fibroblasts. Conclusion and Implications: Stimulation of the sGC reverses transverse aortic constriction-induced heart failure and remodelling, which is associated with improved myocardial gene expression. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on cGMP Signalling in Cell Growth and Survival. To view the other articles in this section visit

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2430-2442
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • RNA sequencing
  • TAC
  • cGMP signalling
  • heart failure
  • riociguat
  • soluble GC


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