Background: A long-term high-fat/cholesterol (HFC) diet leads to insulin resistance (IR), which is associated with inflammation, atherosclerosis (AS), cardiac sympathovagal imbalance, and cardiac dysfunction. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and nuclear factor ĸB (NF-κB) are involved in the development of IR-AS. Thus, we elucidated the pathological molecular mechanism of IR-AS by feeding an HFC diet to Tibetan minipigs to induce IR and AS.
Methods: Male Tibetan minipigs were fed either a normal diet or an HFC diet for 24 weeks. Thereafter, the minipigs were tested for physiological and biochemical blood indices, blood pressure, cardiac function, glucose tolerance, heart rate variability (HRV), and PPAR-associated gene and protein expression levels.
Results: HFC-fed minipigs exhibited IR through increased body weight, fasting blood glucose levels, plasma cholesterol and its composition, and insulin and free fatty acid (FFA) levels; decreased insulin sensitivity; impaired glucose tolerance; and hypertension. Increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, cardiac dysfunction, depressed HRV, and the up-regulation of PPAR expression in the abdominal aorta concomitant with down-regulation in the heart tissue were observed in HFC-fed minipigs. Furthermore, the levels of NF-κBp65, IL-1β, TNF-α, MCP-1, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, MMP-9, and CRP proteins were also significantly increased.
Conclusions: These data suggest that HFC-fed Tibetan minipigs develop IR and AS and that PPARs are involved in cardiovascular remodeling and impaired function.