Pharmacological inhibition of adipose tissue adipose triglyceride lipase by Atglistatin prevents catecholamine-induced myocardial damage

Cardiovasc Res. 2022 Aug 24;118(11):2488-2505. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvab182.


Aims: Heart failure (HF) is characterized by an overactivation of β-adrenergic signalling that directly contributes to impairment of myocardial function. Moreover, β-adrenergic overactivation induces adipose tissue lipolysis, which may further worsen the development of HF. Recently, we demonstrated that adipose tissue-specific deletion of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) prevents pressure-mediated HF in mice. In this study, we investigated the cardioprotective effects of a new pharmacological inhibitor of ATGL, Atglistatin, predominantly targeting ATGL in adipose tissue, on catecholamine-induced cardiac damage.

Methods and results: Male 129/Sv mice received repeated injections of isoproterenol (ISO, 25 mg/kg BW) to induce cardiac damage. Five days prior to ISO application, oral Atglistatin (2 mmol/kg diet) or control treatment was started. Two and twelve days after the last ISO injection cardiac function was analysed by echocardiography. The myocardial deformation was evaluated using speckle-tracking-technique. Twelve days after the last ISO injection, echocardiographic analysis revealed a markedly impaired global longitudinal strain, which was significantly improved by the application of Atglistatin. No changes in ejection fraction were observed. Further studies included histological-, WB-, and RT-qPCR-based analysis of cardiac tissue, followed by cell culture experiments and mass spectrometry-based lipidome analysis. ISO application induced subendocardial fibrosis and a profound pro-apoptotic cardiac response, as demonstrated using an apoptosis-specific gene expression-array. Atglistatin treatment led to a dramatic reduction of these pro-fibrotic and pro-apoptotic processes. We then identified a specific set of fatty acids (FAs) liberated from adipocytes under ISO stimulation (palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, and oleic acid), which induced pro-apoptotic effects in cardiomyocytes. Atglistatin significantly blocked this adipocytic FA secretion.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates cardioprotective effects of Atglistatin in a mouse model of catecholamine-induced cardiac damage/dysfunction, involving anti-apoptotic and anti-fibrotic actions. Notably, beneficial cardioprotective effects of Atglistatin are likely mediated by non-cardiac actions, supporting the concept that pharmacological targeting of adipose tissue may provide an effective way to treat cardiac dysfunction.

Keywords: ATGL; Adipose tissue; Atglistatin; Cardiac apoptosis; Cardioprotection; Catecholamine; Fibrosis; Heart failure; Lipolysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adrenergic Agents / metabolism
  • Adrenergic Agents / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Catecholamines* / metabolism
  • Heart Failure*
  • Lipase / genetics
  • Lipase / metabolism
  • Lipolysis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Phenylurea Compounds


  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Catecholamines
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • atglistatin
  • Lipase