Enzyme protects against obesity-related heart disease

June 8, 2018 by Sanjay Mishra, Vanderbilt University

Saturated fats found in high-fat diets increase the risk of heart failure. Now Manisha Gupte, PhD, Hind Lal, PhD, and colleagues show that the presence of an enzyme called GSK-3beta in the heart is crucial to protect against obesity-related cardiac dysfunction.

To better understand the role of GSK-3beta, the scientists generated mice in which the gene for the enzyme was "knocked out" in heart cells. When fed a high-fat diet, the developed severe heart disease compared to normal controls even though there was no difference in obesity.

On a normal diet, the related enzyme GSK-3alpha compensated for the absence of GSK-3beta in the knockout mice. On a high-fat diet, however, this protection was lost. The absence of GSK-3beta led to excessive accumulation of beta-catenin, a signaling molecule associated with heart abnormalities.

These findings, published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology, point to the potential adverse cardiac consequences of chronic GSK-3 inhibition.

Explore further: Heart sends out signals to fatty tissue

More information: Manisha Gupte et al. Cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of GSK-3β leads to cardiac dysfunction in a diet induced obesity model, International Journal of Cardiology (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.01.013

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