Impaired glucose uptake is associated with both cardiac hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction, but whether there are common underlying mechanisms linking these conditions is yet to be determined. Using a ‘gene dose’ Cre-Lox GLUT4-deficient murine model, we examined the effect of suppressed glucose availability on global myocardial gene expression and glycolysis substrate bypass on the function of isolated perfused hearts. Performance of hearts from 22- to 60-week-old male GLUT4 knockout (KO, > 95% reduction in GLUT4), GLUT4 knockdown (KD, 85% reduction in cardiac GLUT4) and C57Bl/6 wild-type (WT) controls was measured ex vivo in Langendorff mode perfusion. DNA microarray was used to profile mRNA expression differences between GLUT4-KO and GLUT4-KD hearts. At 22 weeks, GLUT4-KO hearts exhibited cardiac hypertrophy and impaired contractile function ex vivo, characterized by a 40% decrease in developed pressure. At 60 weeks, dysfunction was accentuated in GLUT4-KO hearts and evident in GLUT4-KD hearts. Exogenous pyruvate (5 mM) restored systolic pressure to a level equivalent to WT (GLUT4-KO, 176.8 ± 13.2 mmHg vs. WT, 146.4 ± 9.56 mmHg) in 22-week-old GLUT4-KO hearts but not in 60-week-old GLUT4-KO hearts. In GLUT4-KO, DNA microarray analysis detected downregulation of a number of genes centrally involved in mitochondrial oxidation and upregulation of other genes indicative of a shift to cytosolic β-oxidation of long chain fatty acids. A direct link between cardiomyocyte GLUT4 deficiency, hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction is demonstrated. These data provide mechanistic insight into the myocardial metabolic adaptations associated with short and long-term insulin resistance and indicate a window of opportunity for substrate intervention and functional ‘rescue’.
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