Impaired Cardiac Efficiency and Increased Fatty Acid Oxidation in Insulin-Resistant ob/ob Mouse Hearts

  1. Pradip K. Mazumder,
  2. Brian T. O’Neill,
  3. Matthew W. Roberts,
  4. Jonathan Buchanan,
  5. Ui Jeong Yun,
  6. Robert C. Cooksey,
  7. Sihem Boudina and
  8. E. Dale Abel
  1. From the Program in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, The University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, Program in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, University of Utah, 15 North 2030 East, Building #533, Room 3410B, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail: dale.abel{at}


Diabetes alters cardiac substrate metabolism. The cardiac phenotype in insulin-resistant states has not been comprehensively characterized. The goal of these studies was to determine whether the hearts of leptin-deficient 8-week-old ob/ob mice were able to modulate cardiac substrate utilization in response to insulin or to changes in fatty acid delivery. Ob/ob mice were insulin resistant and glucose intolerant. Insulin signal transduction and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake were markedly impaired in ob/ob cardiomyocytes. Insulin-stimulated rates of glycolysis and glucose oxidation were 1.5- and 1.8-fold higher in wild-type hearts, respectively, versus ob/ob, and glucose metabolism in ob/ob hearts was unresponsive to insulin. Increasing concentrations of palmitate from 0.4 mmol/l (low) to 1.2 mmol/l (high) led to a decline in glucose oxidation in wild-type hearts, whereas glucose oxidation remained depressed and did not change in ob/ob mouse hearts. In contrast, fatty acid utilization in ob/ob hearts was 1.5- to 2-fold greater in the absence or presence of 1 nmol/l insulin and rose with increasing palmitate concentrations. Moreover, the ability of insulin to reduce palmitate oxidation rates was blunted in the hearts of ob/ob mice. Under low-palmitate and insulin-free conditions, cardiac performance was significantly greater in wild-type hearts. However, in the presence of high palmitate and 1 nmol/l insulin, cardiac performance in ob/ob mouse hearts was relatively preserved, whereas function in wild-type mouse hearts declined substantially. Under all perfusion conditions, myocardial oxygen consumption was higher in ob/ob hearts, ranging from 30% higher in low-palmitate conditions to greater than twofold higher under high-palmitate conditions. These data indicate that although the hearts of glucose-intolerant ob/ob mice are capable of maintaining their function under conditions of increased fatty acid supply and hyperinsulinemia, they are insulin-resistant, metabolically inefficient, and unable to modulate substrate utilization in response to changes in insulin and fatty acid supply.


    • Accepted June 3, 2004.
    • Received January 9, 2004.
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