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1.  Cardiovascular Changes in Animal Models of Metabolic Syndrome 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:761314.
Metabolic syndrome has been defined as a group of risk factors that directly contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance seems to have a fundamental role in the genesis of this syndrome. Over the past years to the present day, basic and translational research has used small animal models to explore the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome and to develop novel therapies that might slow the progression of this prevalent condition. In this paper we discuss the animal models used for the study of metabolic syndrome, with particular focus on cardiovascular changes, since they are the main cause of death associated with the condition in humans.
PMCID: PMC3647579  PMID: 23691518
2.  GLUT4 content decreases along with insulin resistance and high levels of inflammatory markers in rats with metabolic syndrome 
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance, which is closely related to GLUT4 content in insulin-sensitive tissues. Thus, we evaluated the GLUT4 expression, insulin resistance and inflammation, characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, in an experimental model.
Spontaneously hypertensive neonate rats (18/group) were treated with monosodium glutamate (MetS) during 9 days, and compared with Wistar-Kyoto (C) and saline-treated SHR (H). Blood pressure (BP) and lipid levels, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), TNF-α and adiponectin were evaluated. GLUT4 protein was analysed in the heart, white adipose tissue and gastrocnemius. Studies were performed at 3 (3-mo), 6 (6-mo) and 9 (9-mo) months of age.
MetS rats were more insulin resistant (p<0.001, all ages) and had higher BP (3-mo: p<0.001, 6-mo: p = 0.001, 9-mo: p = 0.015) as compared to C. At 6 months, CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α were higher (p<0.001, all comparisons) in MetS rats vs H, but adiponectin was lower in MetS at 9 months (MetS: 32 ± 2, H: 42 ± 2, C: 45 ± 2 pg/mL; p<0.001). GLUT4 protein was reduced in MetS as compared to C rats at 3, 6 and 9-mo, respectively (Heart: 54%, 50% and 57%; Gastrocnemius: 37%, 56% and 50%; Adipose tissue: 69%, 61% and 69%).
MSG-treated SHR presented all metabolic syndrome characteristics, as well as reduced GLUT4 content, which must play a key role in the impaired glycemic homeostasis of the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3439702  PMID: 22897936
Monosodium glutamate; Spontaneously hypertensive rats; Glucose transporter 4
3.  The beneficial effects of exercise in rodents are preserved after detraining: a phenomenon unrelated to GLUT4 expression 
Although exercise training has well-known cardiorespiratory and metabolic benefits, low compliance with exercise training programs is a fact, and the harmful effects of physical detraining regarding these adaptations usually go unnoticed. We investigated the effects of exercise detraining on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and GLUT4 expression in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and normotensive Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY).
Studied animals were randomized into sedentary, trained (treadmill running/5 days a week, 60 min/day for 10 weeks), 1 week of detraining, and 2 weeks of detraining. Blood pressure (tail-cuff system), insulin sensitivity (kITT), and GLUT4 (Western blot) in heart, gastrocnemius and white fat tissue were measured.
Exercise training reduced blood pressure (19%), improved insulin sensitivity (24%), and increased GLUT4 in the heart (+34%); gastrocnemius (+36%) and fat (+22%) in SHR. In WKY no change in either blood pressure or insulin sensitivity were observed, but there was an increase in GLUT4 in the heart (+25%), gastrocnemius (+45%) and fat (+36%) induced by training. Both periods of detraining did not induce any change in neither blood pressure nor insulin sensitivity in SHR and WKY. One-week detraining reduced GLUT4 in SHR (heart: -28%; fat: -23%) and WKY (heart: -19%; fat: -22%); GLUT4 in the gastrocnemius was reduced after a 2-week detraining (SHR: -35%; WKY: -25%). There was a positive correlation between GLUT4 (gastrocnemius) and the maximal velocity in the exercise test (r = 0.60, p = 0.004).
The study findings show that in detraining, despite reversion of the enhanced GLUT4 expression, cardiorespiratory and metabolic beneficial effects of exercise are preserved.
PMCID: PMC2984487  PMID: 21029425

Results 1-3 (3)