High fat diet-induced obesity increases myocardial injury and alters cardiac STAT3 signaling in mice after polymicrobial sepsis

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017 Oct;1863(10 Pt B):2654-2660. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.06.008. Epub 2017 Jun 15.


Little is known about how obesity affects the heart during sepsis and we sought to investigate the obesity-induced cardiac effects that occur during polymicrobial sepsis. Six-week old C57BL/6 mice were randomized to a high fat (HFD) (60% kcal fat) or normal diet (ND) (16% kcal fat). After 6weeks of feeding, mice were anesthetized with isoflurane and polymicrobial sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Plasma and cardiac tissue were obtained for analysis. Echocardiography was performed on a separate cohort of mice at 0 and 18h after CLP. Following 6-weeks of dietary intervention, plasma cardiac troponin I was elevated in obese mice at baseline compared to non-obese mice but troponin increased only in non-obese septic mice. IL-17a expression was 27-fold higher in obese septic mice versus non-obese septic mice. Cardiac phosphorylation of STAT3 at Ser727 was increased at baseline in obese mice and increased further only in obese septic mice. Phosphorylation of STAT3 at Tyr705 was similar in both groups at baseline and increased after sepsis. SOCS3, a downstream protein and negative regulator of STAT3, was elevated in obese mice at baseline compared to non-obese mice. After sepsis non-obese mice had an increase in SOCS3 expression that was not observed in obese mice. Taken together, we show that obesity affects cardiac function and leads to cardiac injury. Furthermore, myocardial injury in obese mice during sepsis may occur through alteration of the STAT3 pathway.

Keywords: Cardiac inflammation; Obesity; STAT3; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced
  • Heart Diseases / immunology
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism*
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Myocardium / immunology
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / immunology
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Sepsis / immunology
  • Sepsis / metabolism*
  • Sepsis / pathology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / biosynthesis
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / immunology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Il17a protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-17
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Socs3 protein, mouse
  • Stat3 protein, mouse
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein