Liraglutide treatment improves the coronary microcirculation in insulin resistant Zucker obese rats on a high salt diet

Vijayakumar Sukumaran, Hirotsugu Tsuchimochi, Takashi Sonobe, Mark T. Waddingham, Mikiyasu Shirai, James T. Pearson

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4 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Obesity, hypertension and prediabetes contribute greatly to coronary artery disease, heart failure and vascular events, and are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in developed societies. Salt sensitivity exacerbates endothelial dysfunction. Herein, we investigated the effect of chronic glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor activation on the coronary microcirculation and cardiac remodeling in Zucker rats on a high-salt diet (6% NaCl). METHODS: Eight-week old Zucker lean (+/+) and obese (fa/fa) rats were treated with vehicle or liraglutide (LIRA) (0.1 mg/kg/day, s.c.) for 8 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was measured using tail-cuff method in conscious rats. Myocardial function was assessed by echocardiography. Synchrotron contrast microangiography was then used to investigate coronary arterial vessel function (vessels 50-350 µm internal diameter) in vivo in anesthetized rats. Myocardial gene and protein expression levels of vasoactive factors, inflammatory, oxidative stress and remodeling markers were determined by real-time PCR and Western blotting. RESULTS: We found that in comparison to the vehicle-treated fa/fa rats, rats treated with LIRA showed significant improvement in acetylcholine-mediated vasodilation in the small arteries and arterioles (< 150 µm diameter). Neither soluble guanylyl cyclase or endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) mRNA levels or total eNOS protein expression in the myocardium were significantly altered by LIRA. However, LIRA downregulated Nox-1 mRNA (p = 0.030) and reduced ET-1 protein (p = 0.044) expression. LIRA significantly attenuated the expressions of proinflammatory and profibrotic associated biomarkers (NF-κB, CD68, IL-1β, TGF-β1, osteopontin) and nitrotyrosine in comparison to fa/fa-Veh rats, but did not attenuate perivascular fibrosis appreciably. CONCLUSIONS: In a rat model of metabolic syndrome, chronic LIRA treatment improved the capacity for NO-mediated dilation throughout the coronary macro and microcirculations and partially normalized myocardial remodeling independent of changes in body mass or blood glucose.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages16
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020


  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Inflammation
  • Liraglutide
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress

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