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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Apr 15;306(8):R519-26. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00253.2013. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Consuming a Western diet for two weeks suppresses fetal genes in mouse hearts.

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Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington; and.


Diets high in sugar and saturated fat (Western diet) contribute to obesity and pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome. A common physiological response to obesity is hypertension, which induces cardiac remodeling and hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is regulated at the level of chromatin by repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor (REST), and pathological hypertrophy is associated with reexpression of a fetal cardiac gene program. Reactivation of fetal genes is commonly observed in hypertension-induced hypertrophy; however, this response is blunted in diabetic hearts, partially due to upregulation of the posttranslational modification O-linked-β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) to proteins by O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). OGT and O-GlcNAc are found in chromatin-modifying complexes, but it is unknown whether they play a role in Western diet-induced hypertrophic remodeling. Therefore, we investigated the interactions between O-GlcNAc, OGT, and the fetal gene-regulating transcription factor complex REST/mammalian switch-independent 3A/histone deacetylase (HDAC). Five-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed a Western (n = 12) or control diet (n = 12) for 2 wk to examine the early hypertrophic response. Western diet-fed mice exhibited fasting hyperglycemia and increased body weight (P < 0.05). As expected for this short duration of feeding, cardiac hypertrophy was not yet evident. We found that REST is O-GlcNAcylated and physically interacts with OGT in mouse hearts. Western blot analysis showed that HDAC protein levels were not different between groups; however, relative to controls, Western diet hearts showed increased REST and decreased ANP and skeletal α-actin. Transcript levels of HDAC2 and cardiac α-actin were decreased in Western diet hearts. These data suggest that REST coordinates regulation of diet-induced hypertrophy at the level of chromatin.


O-GlcNAc; cardiac hypertrophy; chromatin; fetal genes

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