Date: 13 Jun 2014

Impaired cardiac anti-oxidant activity in diabetes: human and correlative experimental studies


Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) are traditionally viewed as arising from the metabolic flux of diabetes, although reduction in the activity of anti-oxidant systems has also been implicated. Among the latter is the major thiol reducing thioredoxin system, the activity of which may be diminished by high glucose-induced expression of its endogenous inhibitor, thioredoxin interacting protein (TxnIP). We assessed TxnIP mRNA/protein expression along with thioredoxin activity in human right atrial biopsy specimens from subjects with and without diabetes undergoing coronary artery grafting. In correlative experimental studies, we examined TxnIP expression in both type 1 and type 2 rodent models of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Finally, we used in vitro gene silencing to determine the contribution of changes in TxnIP abundance to the high glucose-induced reduction in thioredoxin activity. In human right atrial biopsies, diabetes was associated with a >30-fold increase in TxnIP gene expression and a 17 % increase in TxnIP protein expression (both p < 0.05). This was associated with a 21 % reduction in thioredoxin activity when compared to human non-diabetic cardiac biopsy samples (all p < 0.05). In correlative animal studies, both type 1 and type 2 diabetic rats demonstrated a significant increase in TxnIP mRNA and reduction in thioredoxin activity when compared to non-diabetic animals (all p < 0.05). This was associated with a significant increase in ROS (p < 0.05 when compared with control). In cultured cardiac myocytes, high glucose increased ROS and TxnIP mRNA expression, in association with a reduction in thioredoxin activity (p < 0.01). These findings were abrogated by TxnIP small interfering RNA (siRNA). Scrambled siRNA had no effect upon ROS or TxnIP expression. High glucose reduces thioredoxin activity and increases ROS via TxnIP overexpression. These findings suggest that impaired thiol reductive capacity, through altered TxnIP expression, contributes to increased ROS in the diabetic heart.

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