Adaptation and maladaptation of heart and skeletal muscle to different diets in a rodent model of human obesity

Christopher Robert Wilson, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Obesity and diabetes are metabolic disorders associated with fatty acid availability in excess of the tissues' capacity for fatty acid oxidation. This mismatch is implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiac contractile dysfunction and also in skeletal muscle insulin resistance. My dissertation will present work to test the overall hypothesis that "western" and high fat diets differentially affect cardiac and skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation, the expression of fatty acid responsive genes, and cardiac contractile function. Wistar rats were fed a low fat, "western," or high fat (10%, 45%, or 60% calories from fat, respectively) diet for acute (1 day to 1 week), short (4 to 8 weeks), intermediate (16 to 24 weeks), or long (32 to 48 weeks) term. With high fat diet, cardiac oleate oxidation increased at all time points investigated. In contrast, with western diet cardiac oleate oxidation increased in the acute, short and intermediate term, but not in the long term. Consistent with a maladaptation of fatty acid oxidation, cardiac power (measured ex vivo) decreased with long term western diet only. In contrast to the heart, soleus muscle oleate oxidation increased only in the acute and short term with either western or high fat feeding. Transcript analysis revealed that several fatty acid responsive genes, including pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4, uncoupling protein 3, mitochondrial thioesterase 1, and cytosolic thioesterase 1 increased in heart and soleus muscle to a greater extent with high fat diet, versus western diet, feeding. In conclusion, the data implicate inadequate induction of a cassette of fatty acid responsive genes in both the heart and skeletal muscle by western diet resulting in impaired activation of fatty acid oxidation, and the development of cardiac dysfunction.

Subject Area

Anatomy & physiology

Recommended Citation

Wilson, Christopher Robert, "Adaptation and maladaptation of heart and skeletal muscle to different diets in a rodent model of human obesity" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3256567.