High sugar intake increases heart disease risk in humans. In animals, sugar intake accelerates heart failure development via increased reactive oxygen species (ROS). Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) can fuel ROS production by providing NADPH for superoxide generation by NADPH oxidase. On the other hand, G6PD also facilitates ROS scavenging via the glutathione pathway. We hypothesized that high sugar intake would increase flux through G6PD to increase myocardial [NADPH] and ROS, and accelerate cardiac dysfunction and death.
Research Methods & Procedures
Six-week old TO-2 hamsters, a nonhypertensive model of genetic cardiomyopathy caused by a δ-sarcoglycan mutation, were fed a long-term diet of either high starch or high sugar (57% of energy from sucrose+fructose).
After 24 weeks, δ-sarcoglycan deficient animals displayed expected decreases in survival and cardiac function associated with cardiomyopathy (ejection fraction: control=68.7±4.5%; TO-2 starch=46.1±3.7, p<0.05 TO-2 starch vs control; TO-2 sugar=58.0±4.2%, N.S. vs TO-2 starch or control; median survival: TO-2 starch=278 days, TO-2 sugar=318 days, P=0.133). Although we expected high sugar intake to exacerbate cardiomyopathy, surprisingly there was no further decrease in ejection fraction or survival with high sugar compared to starch in cardiomyopathic animals. Cardiomyopathic animals had systemic and cardiac metabolic abnormalities (elevated serum lipids and glucose, and decreased myocardial oxidative enzymes) which were unaffected by diet. High sugar intake increased myocardial superoxide, but [NADPH] and lipid peroxidation were unaffected.
A sugar enriched diet did not exacerbate ventricular function, metabolic abnormalities, or survival in heart failure despite an increase in NADPH and superoxide production.