Effect and mechanisms of zinc supplementation in protecting against diabetic cardiomyopathy in a rat model of type 2 diabetes
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a prominent cause of heart failure in patients with diabetes mellitus. Currently, there is no specific treatment for diabetic cardiomyopathy. This study aimed to investigate the effect and underlying mechanisms of Zinc (Zn) supplementation in the protection against diabetic cardiomyopathy in a rat model of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). T2DM-like lesions in male Wistar rats were induced by introducing the high-fat diet and by administration of streptozocin (STZ). After STZ induction, animals with fasting plasma glucose level ≥16.7 mM were considered as diabetic, and randomly assigned to the group receiving physiological saline (control) or ZnSO4 for 56 days. On days 0, 7, 28 and 56 of treatment, animals were weighed, and their blood samples were analyzed. On day 56, hemodynamic assessment was performed right before the sacrifice of animals. Cardiac tissue specimens were collected and subjected to pathologic assessment, metallothionein (MT) concentration measurement and Western blot analysis of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3), the marker of autophagy, and glucose-regulated protein-78 (GRP78), an oxidative stress marker. High-fat diet feeding followed by STZ administration resulted in weight loss, hyperglycemia, polydipsia, polyphagia, hemodynamic anomalies and a significant increase in the myocardial content of LC3 and GRP78 proteins, but not in MT protein. Zn supplementation effectively attenuated all these aberrations induced by high-fat diet and STZ. These findings suggest that Zn might be a protective factor in diabetic cardiomyopathy, acting in two ways: at least partially, through inhibiting autophagy and by endoplasmic reticulum stress.
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