Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) has deleterious influence on cardiac performance independent of coronary artery disease and hypertension. The objective of the present study was to investigate the role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, especially angiotensin II type 1a receptor (AT1aR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) signaling, in left ventricular (LV) dysfunction induced by diabetes mellitus (DM). Methods and Results: DM was induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (200 mg/kg BW) in wild-type (WT) or AT1aR knockout (KO) male mice, and they were bred during 6 or 12 weeks. Some KO mice were administered the MR antagonist eplerenone (100 mg/kg body weight). At 6 weeks, LV diastolic function was impaired in WT-DM, but preserved in KO-DM. At that time point MR mRNA expression was upregulated, NADPH oxidase subunit (p47phox) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx1) mRNA expression were upregulated, the staining intensities of LV tissue for 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal was stronger in immunohistochemistry, the number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) positive cells was increased, Bcl-2 protein expression was significantly downregulated, and the expression of SERCA2a and phosphorylated phospholamban was depressed in WT-DM, while these changes were not seen in KO-DM. At 12 weeks, however, these changes were also noted in KO-DM. Eplerenone arrested those changes. The plasma aldosterone concentration was elevated in WT-DM but not in KO-DM at 6 weeks. It showed 3.7-fold elevation at 12 weeks even in KODM, which suggests "aldosterone breakthrough" phenomenon. However, the aldosterone content in LV tissue was unchanged in KO-DM. Conclusions: DM induced diastolic dysfunction was observed even in KO at 12 weeks, which was ameliorated by minelarocorticoid receptor antagonist, eplerenone. AT 1-independent MR activation in the LV might be responsible for the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy.
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