Proteome-based systems biology analysis of the diabetic mouse aorta reveals major changes in fatty acid biosynthesis as potential hallmark in diabetes mellitus-associated vascular disease

Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2014 Apr;7(2):161-70. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000196. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Background: Macrovascular complications of diabetes mellitus are a major risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Currently, studies only partially described the molecular pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus-associated effects on vasculature. However, better understanding of systemic effects is essential in unraveling key molecular events in the vascular tissue responsible for disease onset and progression.

Methods and results: Our overall aim was to get an all-encompassing view of diabetes mellitus-induced key molecular changes in the vasculature. An integrative proteomic and bioinformatics analysis of data from aortic vessels in the low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse model (10 animals) was performed. We observed pronounced dysregulation of molecules involved in myogenesis, vascularization, hypertension, hypertrophy (associated with thickening of the aortic wall), and a substantial reduction of fatty acid storage. A novel finding is the pronounced downregulation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (Gsk3β) and upregulation of molecules linked to the tricarboxylic acid cycle (eg, aspartate aminotransferase [Got2] and hydroxyacid-oxoacid transhydrogenase [Adhfe1]). In addition, pathways involving primary alcohols and amino acid breakdown are altered, potentially leading to ketone-body production. A number of these findings were validated immunohistochemically. Collectively, the data support the hypothesis that in this diabetic model, there is an overproduction of ketone-bodies within the vessels using an alternative tricarboxylic acid cycle-associated pathway, ultimately leading to the development of atherosclerosis.

Conclusions: Streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus in animals leads to a reduction of fatty acid biosynthesis and an upregulation of an alternative ketone-body formation pathway. This working hypothesis could form the basis for the development of novel therapeutic intervention and disease management approaches.

Keywords: aorta; blood supply; diabetes mellitus; ketone bodies; muscles; proteomics; smooth muscle; systems biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / chemistry
  • Aorta / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics
  • Systems Biology


  • Fatty Acids
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Proteome