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Enzyme protects against obesity-related heart disease

Jun. 7, 2018, 12:00 PM

by Sanjay Mishra

Saturated fats found in high-fat diets increase the risk of heart failure. Now Manisha Gupte, PhD, Hind Lal, PhD, and colleagues show that the presence of an enzyme called GSK-3beta in the heart is crucial to protect against obesity-related cardiac dysfunction.

To better understand the role of GSK-3beta, the scientists generated mice in which the gene for the enzyme was “knocked out” in heart cells. When fed a high-fat diet, the knockout mice developed severe heart disease compared to normal controls even though there was no difference in obesity.

On a normal diet, the related enzyme GSK-3alpha compensated for the absence of GSK-3beta in the knockout mice. On a high-fat diet, however, this protection was lost. The absence of GSK-3beta led to excessive accumulation of beta-catenin, a signaling molecule associated with heart abnormalities.

These findings, published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology, point to the potential adverse cardiac consequences of chronic GSK-3 inhibition.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HL133290, HL119234) and the American Heart Association.

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to aliquots@vanderbilt.edu

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