Author(s): Birse RT, Bodmer R
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Abstract The lipotoxic effects of obesity are important contributing factors in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the genetic mechanisms, by which lipotoxicity influences the initiation and progression of CVD are poorly understood. Hearts, of obese and diabetic individuals, exhibit several phenotypes in common, including ventricular remodeling, prolonged QT intervals, enhanced frequency of diastolic and/or systolic dysfunction, and decreased fractional shortening. High systemic lipid concentrations are thought to be the leading cause of lipid-related CVD in obese or diabetic individuals. However, an alternative possibility is that obesity leads to cardiac-specific steatosis, in which lipids and their metabolites accumulate within the myocardial cells themselves and thereby disrupt normal cardiovascular function. Drosophila has recently emerged as an excellent model to study the fundamental genetic mechanisms of metabolic control, as well as their relationship to heart function. Two recent studies of genetic and diet-induced cardiac lipotoxicity illustrate this. One study found that alterations in genes associated with membrane phospholipid metabolism may play a role in the abnormal lipid accumulation associated with cardiomyopathies. The second study showed that Drosophila fed a diet high in saturated fats, developed obesity, dysregulated insulin and glucose homeostasis, and severe cardiac dysfunction. Here, we review the current understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to the detrimental effects of dysregulated lipid metabolism on cardiovascular function. We also discuss how the Drosophila model could help elucidate the basic genetic mechanisms of lipotoxicity- and metabolic syndrome-related cardiomyopathies in mammals.
This article was published in Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol
and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy