Primary myocardial disease in the diabetic mouse. An ultrastructural study

Lab Invest. 1979 Apr;40(4):460-73.


The hearts from C57BL/KsJ db+/db+ mice and controls were examined by light and electron microscopy at intervals during 5 to 28 weeks of age. C57BL/6J ob/ob mice and their lean littermates served as other controls. The percentage of increase in body and heart weights of the diabetic animals was 150% and 64% greater, respectively, than that of the controls. Over the period of observation there was progressive damage to the ventricular myocytes and intramural small arteries and arterioles of the diabetic animals. Initially, the cardiac muscle cells of both ventricles contained large numbers of lipid droplets. Subsequently, there was shrinkage and increased electron density of mitochondria that were enveloped by single limiting membranes that in turn gave rise to large residual bodies. This was followed by loss of myofilaments and atrophy of myocytes. Similar changes occurred in the smooth muscle cells of intramural arteries and arterioles but not in those of epicardial arteries. Reduplicated layers of basal laminae were seen around interstitial capillaries. Degenerative changes also occurred in perivascular nerve endings. These changes are discussed in relation to the altered metabolism of the diabetic state. It is concluded that the pathologic lesions in the cardiac muscle cells and intramural arterial vessels and capillaries constitute a primary myocardial disease in the genetically diabetic mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / ultrastructure
  • Body Weight
  • Cardiomyopathies / complications*
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Coronary Vessels / ultrastructure
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria, Heart / ultrastructure
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure*
  • Organ Size