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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 19;8(7):e68697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068697. Print 2013.

Adiponectin modulates oxidative stress-induced autophagy in cardiomyocytes.

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Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.


Diastolic heart failure (HF) i.e., "HF with preserved ejection fraction" (HF-preserved EF) accounts for up to 50% of all HF presentations; however there have been no therapeutic advances. This stems in part from an incomplete understanding about HF-preserved EF. Hypertension is the major cause of HF-preserved EF whilst HF-preserved EF is also highly associated with obesity. Similarly, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS), i.e., oxidative stress occurs in hypertension and obesity, sensitizing the heart to the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, inducing autophagic type-II programmed cell death and accelerating the propensity to adverse cardiac remodeling, diastolic dysfunction and HF. Adiponectin (APN), an adipokine, mediates cardioprotective actions but it is unknown if APN modulates cardiomyocyte autophagy. We tested the hypothesis that APN ameliorates oxidative stress-induced autophagy in cardiomyocytes. Isolated adult rat ventricular myocytes were pretreated with recombinant APN (30 µg/mL) followed by 1mM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) exposure. Wild type (WT) and APN-deficient (APN-KO) mice were infused with angiotensin (Ang)-II (3.2 mg/kg/d) for 14 days to induced oxidative stress. Autophagy-related proteins, mTOR, AMPK and ERK expression were measured. H2O2 induced LC3I to LC3II conversion by a factor of 3.4±1.0 which was abrogated by pre-treatment with APN by 44.5±10%. However, neither H2O2 nor APN affected ATG5, ATG7, or Beclin-1 expression. H2O2 increased phospho-AMPK by 49±6.0%, whilst pretreatment with APN decreased phospho-AMPK by 26±4%. H2O2 decreased phospho-mTOR by 36±13%, which was restored by APN. ERK inhibition demonstrated that the ERK-mTOR pathway is involved in H2O2-induced autophagy. Chronic Ang-II infusion significantly increased myocardial LC3II/I protein expression ratio in APN-KO vs. WT mice. These data suggest that excessive ROS caused cardiomyocyte autophagy which was ameliorated by APN by inhibiting an H2O2-induced AMPK/mTOR/ERK-dependent mechanism. These findings demonstrate the anti-oxidant potential of APN in oxidative stress-associated cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension-induced HF-preserved EF.

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