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Cardiovasc Res. 2003 Jun 1;58(3):663-70.

Hyperlipidemia induced by a cholesterol-rich diet leads to enhanced peroxynitrite formation in rat hearts.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Group, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged, Dóm tér 9, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary.



We investigated the influence of experimental hyperlipidemia on the formation of cardiac NO, superoxide, and peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) in rat hearts.


Wistar rats were fed 2% cholesterol-enriched diet or normal diet for 8 weeks. Separate groups of normal and hyperlipidemic rats were injected twice intraperitoneally with 2 x 20 micromol/kg FeTPPS (5,10,15,20-tetrakis-[4-sulfonatophenyl]-porphyrinato-iron[III]), a ONOO(-) decomposition catalyst, 24 h and 1 h before isolation of the hearts.


A cholesterol diet significantly decreased myocardial NO content, however, myocardial Ca(2+)-dependent and Ca(2+)-independent NO synthase activity and NO synthase protein level did not change. Myocardial superoxide formation and xanthine oxidase activity were significantly increased; however, cardiac superoxide dismutase activity did not change in the cholesterol-fed group. Dityrosine in the perfusate, a marker of cardiac ONOO(-) formation, and plasma nitrotyrosine, a marker for systemic ONOO(-) formation, were both elevated in hyperlipidemic rats. In cholesterol-fed rats, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) was significantly elevated as compared to controls. Administration of FeTPPS normalized LVEDP in the cholesterol-fed group.


We conclude that cholesterol-enriched diet-induced hyperlipidemia leads to an increase in cardiac ONOO(-) formation and a decrease in the bioavailability of NO which contributes to the deterioration of cardiac performance and may lead to further cardiac pathologies.

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