A high-sucrose diet exacerbates the left ventricular phenotype in a high fat-fed streptozotocin rat model of diabetic cardiomyopathy

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Left ventricular (LV) dysfunction is an early, clinically detectable sign of cardiomyopathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) that precedes the development of symptomatic heart failure. Preclinical models of diabetic cardiomyopathy are essential to develop therapies that may prevent or delay the progression of heart failure. This study examined the molecular, structural, and functional cardiac phenotype of two rat models of T2DM induced by a high-fat diet (HFD) with a moderate- or high-sucrose content (containing 88.9 or 346 g/kg sucrose, respectively), plus administration of low-dose streptozotocin (STZ). At 8 wk of age, male Sprague-Dawley rats commenced a moderate- or high-sucrose HFD. Two weeks later, rats received low-dose STZ (35 mg/kg ip for 2 days) and remained on their respective diets. LV function was assessed by echocardiography 1 wk before end point. At 22 wk of age, blood and tissues were collected postmortem. Relative to chow-fed sham rats, diabetic rats on a moderate- or high-sucrose HFD displayed cardiac reactive oxygen species dysregulation, perivascular fibrosis, and impaired LV diastolic function. The diabetes-induced impact on LV adverse remodeling and diastolic dysfunction was more apparent when a high-sucrose HFD was superimposed on STZ. In conclusion, a high-sucrose HFD in combination with low-dose STZ produced a cardiac phenotype that more closely resembled T2DM-induced cardiomyopathy than STZ diabetic rats subjected to a moderate-sucrose HFD.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Left ventricular dysfunction and adverse remodeling were more pronounced in diabetic rats that received low-dose streptozotocin (STZ) and a high-sucrose high-fat diet (HFD) compared with those on a moderate-sucrose HFD in combination with STZ. Our findings highlight the importance of sucrose content in diet composition, particularly in preclinical studies of diabetic cardiomyopathy, and demonstrate that low-dose STZ combined with a high-sucrose HFD is an appropriate rodent model of cardiomyopathy in type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H241-H257
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • diabetic cardiomyopathy
  • diastolic dysfunction
  • high-fat diet
  • streptozotocin
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

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