Long-term consumption of an excessive fat and sucrose diet (Western diet, WD) has been considered a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (MS) and cardiovascular disease. Caveolae and caveolin-1 (CAV-1) proteins are involved in lipid transport and metabolism. However, studies investigating CAV-1 expression, cardiac remodeling, and dysfunction caused by MS, are limited. This study aimed to investigate the correlation between the expression of CAV-1 and abnormal lipid accumulation in the endothelium and myocardium in WD-induced MS, and the occurrence of myocardial microvascular endothelial cell dysfunction, myocardial mitochondrial remodeling, and damage effects on cardiac remodeling and cardiac function.
We employed a long-term (7 months) WD feeding mouse model to measure the effect of MS on caveolae/vesiculo-vacuolar organelle (VVO) formation, lipid deposition, and endothelial cell dysfunction in cardiac microvascular using a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) assay. CAV-1 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression and interaction were evaluated using real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and immunostaining. Cardiac mitochondrial shape transition and damage, mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum membrane (MAM) disruption, cardiac function change, caspase-mediated apoptosis pathway activation, and cardiac remodeling were examined using TEM, echocardiography, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot assay.
Our study demonstrated that long-term WD feeding caused obesity and MS in mice. In mice, MS increased caveolae and VVO formation in the microvascular system and enhanced CAV-1 and lipid droplet binding affinity. In addition, MS caused a significant decrease in eNOS expression, vascular endothelial cadherin, and β-catenin interactions in cardiac microvascular endothelial cells, accompanied by impaired vascular integrity. MS-induced endothelial dysfunction caused massive lipid accumulation in the cardiomyocytes, leading to MAM disruption, mitochondrial shape transition, and damage. MS promoted brain natriuretic peptide expression and activated the caspase-dependent apoptosis pathway, leading to cardiac dysfunction in mice.
MS resulted in cardiac dysfunction, remodeling by regulating caveolae and CAV-1 expression, and endothelial dysfunction. Lipid accumulation and lipotoxicity caused MAM disruption and mitochondrial remodeling in cardiomyocytes, leading to cardiomyocyte apoptosis and cardiac dysfunction and remodeling.