Antiplatelet Drug Shows Potential as Heart Failure Therapy Treatment

Preliminary research shows Anplag could be repurposed as a heart failure treatment at a lower cost.

The antiplatelet medication Anplag (sarpogrelate) developed by the Japanese company Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma could save the U.S. health care system significant costs associated with heart failure therapy, a new study says.

The inexpensive therapy has potential as a new heart failure therapy, according to preliminary animal research presented at the American Heart Association’s virtual Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Scientific Sessions 2021, August 23-25.

“Heart failure costs the United States billions each year in treatment, management, health care costs and missed days of work. Additionally, the cost of new drug development increases every year,” Kana Shimizu, MS, BSPharm, a Ph.D. student at the University of Shizuoka in Shizuoka, Japan, said in an AHA news release.

Shimizu and other researchers investigated whether existing, approved medicines could be repurposed as heart failure treatments at lower costs.

The researchers screened a variety of compounds that suppress cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, which occurs when cells that are responsible for contracting the heart muscle become thicker than normal, and they identified sarpogrelate as a potential candidate. Sarpogrelate is a serotonin receptor antagonist that has been found to cause vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels, as well as reduce cell damage, AHA said.

Their study examined the effects of sarpogrelate on cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and the development of heart failure in mice. Sarpogrelate significantly suppressed cardiomyocyte hypertrophy induced by each stimulus.

Mice then underwent a transverse aortic constriction (TAC), a procedure that induces cardiac hypertrophy. One day after the operation, the mice were randomly divided into three groups: either an oral dose of sarpogrelate at 1 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg daily for eight weeks, or the control group that did not receive sarpogrelate.

At the end of the 8-week study period, the mice who received 5 mg/kg of sarpogrelate daily were significantly less likely to develop heart failure after the TAC procedure.

The higher dose of sarpogrelate suppressed a TAC-induced increase in ventricular wall thickness and other measures of cardiac hypertrophy, such as the ratio of heart weight to body weight, the researchers found.

“These findings suggest that oral administration of this approved antiplatelet medication significantly suppresses cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and the development of heart failure in mice,” Shimizu said. “Sarpogrelate may be an effective, low-cost agent for heart failure therapy.”

But more research is needed to understand the mechanisms of the medication and the protein or proteins it targets to inhibit the thickening of the cardiac cells, according to Shimizu.