Diet-induced obesity promotes altered remodeling and exacerbated cardiac hypertrophy following pressure overload

Katherine M. Holzem, Joseph T. Marmerstein, Eli J. Madden, Igor R. Efimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) is the end stage of cardiovascular disease, in which hypertrophic remodeling no longer meets cardiac output demand. Established animal models of HF have provided insights into disease pathogenesis. However, these models are developed on dissimilar metabolic backgrounds from humans – patients with HF are frequently overweight or obese, whereas animal models of HF are typically lean. Thus, we aimed to develop and investigate model for cardiac hypertrophy and failure that also recapitulates the cardiometabolic state of HF in humans. We subjected mice with established diet-induced obesity (DIO) to cardiac pressure overload provoked by transverse aortic constriction (TAC). Briefly, we fed WT male mice a normal chow or high-fat diet for 10 weeks prior to sham/TAC procedures and until surgical follow-up. We then analyzed cardiac hypertrophy, mechanical function, and electrophysiology at 5–6 weeks after surgery. In DIO mice with TAC, hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction were exacerbated relative to chow TAC animals, which showed minimal remodeling with our moderate constriction intensity. Normalized heart weight was 55.8% greater and fractional shortening was 30.9% less in DIO TAC compared with chow TAC hearts. However, electrophysiologic properties were surprisingly similar between DIO sham and TAC animals. To examine molecular pathways activated by DIO and TAC, we screened prohypertrophic signaling cascades, and the exacerbated remodeling was associated with early activation of the c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK1/2) signaling pathway. Thus, DIO aggravates the progression of hypertrophy and HF caused by pressure overload, which is associated with JNK1/2 signaling, and cardiometabolic state can significantly modify HF pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12489
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015


  • Diet-induced obesity
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertrophy
  • Remodeling
  • Signaling


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