Background: Fatty acid (FA) catabolism abnormality has been proved to play an important role in obesity-related cardiomyopathy. We hypothesized that cardiospecific suppression of CD36, the predominant membrane FA transporter, would protect against obesity-related cardiomyopathy.
Methods: Four-wk-old male C57BL/6 J mice were fed with either high-fat-diet (HFD) or control-normal-diet for 2 wk. Then they were subjected to intramyocardial injection with recombinant lentiviral vectors containing short hairpin RNAs to selectively downregulate the expression of either cardiac CD36 or irrelevant gene by RNA interference. After a 10-wk continuation of the diet, biochemical, functional, morphological, histological, metabolic and molecular profiles were assessed.
Results: HFD administration elicited obesity, cardiac hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction accompanied with elevated serum levels of blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, fasting serum glucose (FSG), total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride. Additionally, HFD consumption promoted lipid accumulation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the cardiomyocytes. Cardiospecific CD36 inhibition protected against HFD induced cardiac remodeling by decreasing heart/body weight ratio, increasing left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and fractional shortening as well as normalizing LV diameter, without influencing body weight gain. Inhibition of cardiac CD36 also mitigated obesity induced alteration in BUN, creatinine and triglyceride, but had no effect on FSG or TC. Moreover, cardiospecific CD36 deficiency corrected myocardial lipid overaccumulation and intracellular ROS overproduction that were induced by HFD feeding.
Conclusions: Cardiospecific CD36 inhibition protects against the aggravation of cardiac functional and morphological changes associated with HFD induced obesity. CD36 represents a potential therapeutic target for obesity cardiomyopathy.