Background: It is known that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids may improve cardiac function. However, relatively high daily doses are required to achieve sufficient cardiac concentrations of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. The liver X receptor (LXR) is a nuclear hormone receptor and a crucial regulator of lipid homeostasis in mammals. LXR activation has been shown to endogenously reprogram cellular lipid profiles toward increased polyunsaturated fatty acids levels. Here we studied whether LXR lipid reprogramming occurs in cardiac tissue and exerts cardioprotective actions.
Methods and Results: Male 129SV mice were treated with the LXR agonist AZ876 (20 mu mol/kg per day) for 11 days. From day 6, the mice were injected with the nonselective beta-agonist isoproterenol for 4 consecutive days to induce diastolic dysfunction and subendocardial fibrosis while maintaining systolic function. Treatment with isoproterenol led to a marked impairment of global longitudinal strain and the E/e' ratio of transmitral flow to mitral annular velocity, which were both significantly improved by the LXR agonist. Histological examination showed a significant reduction in isoproterenol-induced subendocardial fibrosis by AZ876. Analysis of the cardiac lipid composition by liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry revealed a significant increase in cardiac polyunsaturated fatty acids levels and a significant reduction in saturated fatty acids by AZ876.
Conclusions: The present study provides evidence that the LXR agonist AZ876 prevents subendocardial damage, improves global longitudinal strain and E/e' in a mouse model of isoproterenol-induced cardiac damage, accompanied by an upregulation of cardiac polyunsaturated fatty acids levels. Cardiac LXR activation and beneficial endogenous cardiac lipid reprogramming may provide a new therapeutic strategy in cardiac disease with diastolic dysfunction.