Insights into the role of maladaptive hexosamine biosynthesis and O-GlcNAcylation in development of diabetic cardiac complications

Cheng Xue Qin, Rochelle Sleaby, Amy J Davidoff, James R Bell, Miles J De Blasio, Leanne Maree Delbridge, John C. Chatham, Rebecca H. Ritchie

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetes mellitus significantly increases the risk of heart failure, independent of coronary artery disease. The mechanisms implicated in the development of diabetic heart disease, commonly termed diabetic cardiomyopathy, are complex, but much of the impact of diabetes on the heart can be attributed to impaired glucose handling. It has been shown that the maladaptive nutrient-sensing hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) contributes to diabetic complications in many non-cardiac tissues. Glucose metabolism by the HBP leads to enzymatically-regulated, O-linked attachment of a sugar moiety molecule, β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc), to proteins, affecting their biological activity (similar to phosphorylation). In normal physiology, transient activation of HBP/O-GlcNAc mechanisms is an adaptive, protective means to enhance cell survival; interventions that acutely suppress this pathway decrease tolerance to stress. Conversely, chronic dysregulation of HBP/O-GlcNAc mechanisms has been shown to be detrimental in certain pathological settings, including diabetes and cancer. Most of our understanding of the impact of sustained maladaptive HBP and O-GlcNAc protein modifications has been derived from adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and other non-cardiac tissues, as a contributing mechanism to insulin resistance and progression of diabetic complications. However, the long-term consequences of persistent activation of cardiac HBP and O-GlcNAc are not well-understood; therefore, the goal of this timely review is to highlight current understanding of the role of the HBP pathway in development of diabetic cardiomyopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalPharmacological Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Cardiac remodeling
  • Diabetic cardiomyopathy
  • Diastolic function
  • Hyperglycemia
  • O-GlcNAcylation

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