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Gender-dependent effects of high-fat lard diet on cardiac function in C57Bl/6J mice

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Author: Louwe, M.C. · Hoorn, J.W.A. van der · Berg, S.A.A. van den · Wouter Jukema, J. · Romijn, J.A. · Dijk, K.W. van · Rensen, P.C.N. · Smit, J.W.A. · Steendijk, P.
Source:Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2, 37, 214-224
Identifier: 452788
doi: doi:10.1139/H11-153
Keywords: Biology · Gender · Heart function · High-fat diet · Obesity · Pressure-volume loops · Healthy for Life · Healthy Living · Life · MHR - Metabolic Health Research · EELS - Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences


Increased availability of fatty acids released from insulin-resistant adipose tissue may lead to excess fatty acid uptake in nonadipose organs, including the heart. Accumulation of toxic fatty acid intermediates may affect cardiac function. Our aim was to identify to which extent high-fat diet feeding leads to alterations in cardiac function and whether this depends on gender and (or) duration of high-fat diet feeding. Male and female C57Bl/6J mice (n = 8 per group) of 12 to 16 weeks old were fed a low-fat (10% energy) or high-fat (45% energy) lard diet for 6 or 12 weeks. Plasma lipid levels, echocardiography, and left ventricular pressure-volume relationships were obtained at 2, 1, and 0 weeks before termination, respectively. In both male and female mice, the high-fat diet increased body weight and plasma lipid content. At 10 weeks, significant increases were observed for plasma total cholesterol (males: +44%; females: +86%), phospholipids (+16% and +34%), and triglycerides (+27% and +53%) (all p < 0.001). In male mice, but not in female mice, the high-fat diet significantly affected cardiac function at 12 weeks with increased end-systolic volume (25.4 ± 6.2 vs. 17.0 ± 6.7 μL, p <0.05), increased end-systolic pressure (72.1 ± 6.9 vs. 63.6 ± 6.9 mm Hg, p < 0.01), and decreased ejection fraction (61.2% ± 4.5% vs. 68.1% ± 3.7%, p < 0.01), indicating reduced systolic function. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated a significant diet-gender interaction for end-systolic volume and ejection fraction. In conclusion, high-fat diet feeding increased body weight and plasma lipid levels in male and in female mice, but resulted in impairment of cardiac function only in males.