International journal of cardiology

Effects of pioglitazone on cardiac and adipose tissue pathology in rats with metabolic syndrome.

PMID 25464487


Pioglitazone is a thiazolidinedione drug that acts as an insulin sensitizer. We recently characterized DahlS.Z-Lepr(fa)/Lepr(fa) (DS/obese) rats, derived from a cross between Dahl salt-sensitive and Zucker rats, as a new animal model of metabolic syndrome. We have now investigated the effects of pioglitazone on cardiac and adipose tissue pathology in this model. DS/obese rats were treated with pioglitazone (2.5 mg/kg per day, per os) from 9 to 13 weeks of age. Age-matched homozygous lean (DahlS.Z-Lepr(+)/Lepr(+), or DS/lean) littermates served as controls. Pioglitazone increased body weight and food intake in DS/obese rats. It also ameliorated left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, fibrosis, and diastolic dysfunction as well as attenuated cardiac oxidative stress and inflammation, without lowering blood pressure, in DS/obese rats, but it had no effect on these parameters in DS/lean rats. In addition, pioglitazone increased visceral and subcutaneous fat mass but alleviated adipocyte hypertrophy and inflammation in visceral adipose tissue in DS/obese rats. Furthermore, pioglitazone increased the serum concentration of adiponectin, induced activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the heart, as well as ameliorated glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in DS/obese rats. Treatment of DS/obese rats with pioglitazone exacerbated obesity but attenuated LV hypertrophy, fibrosis, and diastolic dysfunction, with these latter effects being associated with the activation of cardiac AMPK signaling likely as a result of the stimulation of adiponectin secretion.

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