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1.  ACE-inhibition, but not weight reduction restores cardiomyocyte response to β-adrenergic stimulation in the metabolic syndrome 
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is characterized by systolic and early diastolic ventricular dysfunction. In the metabolic syndrome (MS), ventricular stiffness is additionally increased in a later stage. It is unknown whether this is related to intrinsic cardiomyocyte dysfunction, extrinsic factors influencing cardiomyocyte contractility and/or cardiac function, or a combination of both. A first aim was to study cardiomyocyte contractility and Ca2+ handling in vitro in a mouse model of MS. A second aim was to investigate whether in vivo hypocaloric diet or ACE-inhibition (ACE-I) improved cardiomyocyte contractility in vitro, contractile reserve and Ca2+ handling.
This study was performed in LDL-receptor (LDLR−/−) and leptin-deficient (ob/ob), double knock-out mice (DKO), featuring obesity, type II diabetes, atherogenic dyslipidemia and hypertension. Single knock-out LDLR−/−, ob/ob and wild type mice were used as controls. Cellular contractility, Ca2+ handling and their response to in vivo treatment with diet or ACE-I were studied in isolated cardiomyocytes at baseline, during β-adrenergic stimulation or increased extracellular Ca2+, using field stimulation and patch-clamp.
In untreated conditions, prolongation of contraction-relaxation cycle and altered Ca2+ handling are observed in MS. Response to increased extracellular Ca2+ and β-adrenergic stimulation is impaired and could not be rescued by weight loss. ACE-I restored impaired response to β-adrenergic stimulation in MS, but not the decreased response to increased extracellular Ca2+.
Cardiomyocyte contractility and β-adrenergic response are impaired in MS, due to alterations in cellular Ca2+ handling. ACE-I, but not weight loss, is able to restore cardiomyocyte response to β-adrenergic stimulation in MS.
PMCID: PMC3729821  PMID: 23848952
Metabolic syndrome; Cardiomyocyte contractility; β-adrenergic stimulation; Hypocaloric diet; ACE-inhibition
2.  Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition and food restriction restore delayed preconditioning in diabetic mice 
Classical and delayed preconditioning are powerful endogenous protection mechanisms against ischemia-reperfusion damage. However, it is still uncertain whether delayed preconditioning can effectively salvage myocardium in patients with co-morbidities, such as diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. We investigated delayed preconditioning in mice models of type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome and investigated interventions to optimize the preconditioning potential.
Hypoxic preconditioning was induced in C57Bl6-mice (WT), leptin deficient ob/ob (model for type II diabetes) and double knock-out (DKO) mice with combined leptin and LDL-receptor deficiency (model for metabolic syndrome). Twenty-four hours later, 30 min of regional ischemia was followed by 60 min reperfusion. Left ventricular contractility and infarct size were studied. The effect of 12 weeks food restriction or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition (ACE-I) on this was investigated. Differences between groups were analyzed for statistical significance by student’s t-test or one-way ANOVA followed by a Fisher’s LSD post hoc test. Factorial ANOVA was used to determine the interaction term between preconditioning and treatments, followed by a Fisher’s LSD post hoc test. Two-way ANOVA was used to determine the relationship between infarct size and contractility (PRSW). A value of p<0.05 was considered significant.
Left ventricular contractility is reduced in ob/ob compared with WT and even further reduced in DKO. ACE-I improved contractility in ob/ob and DKO mice. After ischemia/reperfusion without preconditioning, infarct size was larger in DKO and ob/ob versus WT. Hypoxic preconditioning induced a strong protection in WT and a partial protection in ob/ob mice. The preconditioning potential was lost in DKO. Twelve weeks of food restriction or ACE-I restored the preconditioning potential in DKO and improved it in ob/ob.
Delayed preconditioning is restored by food restriction and ACE-I in case of type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3598767  PMID: 23432808
Myocardial protection; Preconditioning; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; Diabetes mellitus; Metabolic syndrome
3.  Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition and food restriction in diabetic mice do not correct the increased sensitivity for ischemia-reperfusion injury 
The number of patients with diabetes or the metabolic syndrome reaches epidemic proportions. On top of their diabetic cardiomyopathy, these patients experience frequent and severe cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (IR) insults, which further aggravate their degree of heart failure. Food restriction and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition (ACE-I) are standard therapies in these patients but the effects on cardiac IR injury have never been investigated. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that 1° food restriction and 2° ACE-I reduce infarct size and preserve cardiac contractility after IR injury in mouse models of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
C57Bl6/J wild type (WT) mice, leptin deficient ob/ob (model for type II diabetes) and double knock-out (LDLR-/-;ob/ob, further called DKO) mice with combined leptin and LDL-receptor deficiency (model for metabolic syndrome) were used. The effects of 12 weeks food restriction or ACE-I on infarct size and load-independent left ventricular contractility after 30 min regional cardiac ischemia were investigated. Differences between groups were analyzed for statistical significance by Student’s t-test or factorial ANOVA followed by a Fisher’s LSD post hoc test.
Infarct size was larger in ob/ob and DKO versus WT. Twelve weeks of ACE-I improved pre-ischemic left ventricular contractility in ob/ob and DKO. Twelve weeks of food restriction, with a weight reduction of 35-40%, or ACE-I did not reduce the effect of IR.
ACE-I and food restriction do not correct the increased sensitivity for cardiac IR-injury in mouse models of type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3444392  PMID: 22853195
Ischemia/reperfusion; Diabetes mellitus; Metabolic syndrome; In vivo contractility; Infarct size
4.  Increased catecholamine secretion contributes to hypertension in TRPM4-deficient mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(9):3267-3279.
Hypertension is an underlying risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Despite this, its pathogenesis remains unknown in most cases. Recently, the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family was associated with the development of several cardiovascular diseases linked to hypertension. The melastatin TRP channels TRPM4 and TRPM5 have distinct properties within the TRP channel family: they form nonselective cation channels activated by intracellular calcium ions. Here we report the identification of TRPM4 proteins in endothelial cells, heart, kidney, and chromaffin cells from the adrenal gland, suggesting that they have a role in the cardiovascular system. Consistent with this hypothesis, Trpm4 gene deletion in mice altered long-term regulation of blood pressure toward hypertensive levels. No changes in locomotor activity, renin-angiotensin system function, electrolyte and fluid balance, vascular contractility, and cardiac contractility under basal conditions were observed. By contrast, inhibition of ganglionic transmission with either hexamethonium or prazosin abolished the difference in blood pressure between Trpm4–/– and wild-type mice. Strikingly, plasma epinephrine concentration as well as urinary excretion of catecholamine metabolites were substantially elevated in Trpm4–/– mice. In freshly isolated chromaffin cells, lack of TRPM4 was shown to cause markedly more acetylcholine-induced exocytotic release events, while neither cytosolic calcium concentration, size, nor density of vesicles were different. We therefore conclude that TRPM4 proteins limit catecholamine release from chromaffin cells and that this contributes to increased sympathetic tone and hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2929713  PMID: 20679729
5.  Long-term blinded placebo-controlled study of SNT-MC17/idebenone in the dystrophin deficient mdx mouse: cardiac protection and improved exercise performance 
European Heart Journal  2008;30(1):116-124.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe and still incurable disease, with heart failure as a leading cause of death. The identification of a disease-modifying therapy may require early-initiated and long-term administration, but such type of therapeutic trial is not evident in humans. We have performed such a trial of SNT-MC17/idebenone in the mdx mouse model of DMD, based on the drug’s potential to improve mitochondrial respiratory chain function and reduce oxidative stress.
Methods and results
In this study, 200 mg/kg bodyweight of either SNT-MC17/idebenone or placebo was given from age 4 weeks until 10 months in mdx and wild-type mice. All evaluators were blinded to mouse type and treatment groups. Idebenone treatment significantly corrected cardiac diastolic dysfunction and prevented mortality from cardiac pump failure induced by dobutamine stress testing in vivo, significantly reduced cardiac inflammation and fibrosis, and significantly improved voluntary running performance in mdx mice.
We have identified a novel potential therapeutic strategy for human DMD, as SNT-MC17/idebenone was cardioprotective and improved exercise performance in the dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse. Our data also illustrate that the mdx mouse provides unique opportunities for long-term controlled prehuman therapeutic studies.
PMCID: PMC2639086  PMID: 18784063
Muscular dystrophy; Therapy; Cardiomyopathy; Hemodynamics; Heart failure; Animal model

Results 1-5 (5)