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The evolving systemic biomarker milieu in obese ZSF1 rat model of human cardiometabolic syndrome: Characterization of the model and cardioprotective effect of GDF15

By Marina Stolina, Xin Luo, Denise Dwyer, Chun-Ya Han, Rhonda Chen, Ying Zhang, YuMei Xiong, Yinhong Chen, Jun Yin, Brandon Ason, Clarence Hale, Murielle M. VĂ©niant

Posted 20 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.20.000307 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231234)

Cardiometabolic syndrome has become a global health issue. Heart failure is a common comorbidity of cardiometabolic syndrome. Successful drug development to prevent cardiometabolic syndrome and associated comorbidities requires preclinical models predictive of human conditions. To characterize the heart failure component of cardiometabolic syndrome, cardiometabolic, metabolic, and renal biomarkers were evaluated in obese and lean ZSF1 20- to 22-week-old male rats. Cardiac function, exercise capacity, and left ventricular gene expression were also analyzed. Obese ZSF1 rats exhibited multiple features of human cardiometabolic syndrome by pathological changes in systemic renal, metabolic, and cardiovascular disease circulating biomarkers. Hemodynamic assessment, echocardiography, and decreased exercise capacity confirmed heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. RNA-seq results demonstrated changes in left ventricular gene expression associated with fatty acid and branched chain amino acid metabolism, cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy, and heart failure. Twelve weeks of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) treatment significantly decreased body weight, food intake, blood glucose, and triglycerides and improved exercise capacity in obese ZSF1 males. Systemic cardiovascular injury markers were significantly lower in GDF15-treated obese ZSF1 rats. Obese ZSF1 male rats represent a preclinical model for human cardiometabolic syndrome with established heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. GDF15 treatment mediated dietary response and demonstrated a cardioprotective effect in obese ZSF1 rats.

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