High dietary fat selectively increases catalase expression within cardiac mitochondria

J Biol Chem. 2013 Jan 18;288(3):1979-90. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.412890. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


Obesity is a predictor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One consequence of obesity is dyslipidemia characterized by high blood triglycerides. It has been proposed that oxidative stress, driven by utilization of lipids for energy, contributes to these diseases. The effects of oxidative stress are mitigated by an endogenous antioxidant enzyme network, but little is known about its response to high fat utilization. Our experiments used a multiplexed quantitative proteomics method to measure antioxidant enzyme expression in heart tissue in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity. This experiment showed a rapid and specific up-regulation of catalase protein, with subsequent assays showing increases in activity and mRNA. Catalase, traditionally considered a peroxisomal protein, was found to be present in cardiac mitochondria and significantly increased in content and activity during high fat feeding. These data, coupled with the fact that fatty acid oxidation enhances mitochondrial H(2)O(2) production, suggest that a localized catalase increase is needed to consume excessive mitochondrial H(2)O(2) produced by increased fat metabolism. To determine whether the catalase-specific response is a common feature of physiological conditions that increase blood triglycerides and fatty acid oxidation, we measured changes in antioxidant expression in fasted versus fed mice. Indeed, a similar specific catalase increase was observed in mice fasted for 24 h. Our findings suggest a fundamental metabolic process in which catalase expression is regulated to prevent damage while preserving an H(2)O(2)-mediated sensing of diet composition that appropriately adjusts insulin sensitivity in the short term as needed to prioritize lipid metabolism for complete utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Catalase / genetics
  • Catalase / metabolism*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Gene Expression
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria, Heart / enzymology
  • Mitochondria, Heart / genetics*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Up-Regulation


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Catalase