Jun Ren, Bang-Hao Zhu, David P. Relling, Lucy B. Esberg, Asli F. Ceylan-Isik
Levels of the obese gene product leptin are often elevated in obesity and may contribute to obesity-induced cardiovascular complications. However, the role of leptin in obesity-associated cardiac abnormalities has not been clearly defined. This study was designed to determine the influence of high-fat diet-induced obesity on cardiac contractile response of leptin. Mechanical and intracellular Ca(2+) properties were evaluated using an IonOptix system in cardiomyocytes from adult rats fed low- and high-fat diets for 12 weeks. Cardiomyocyte contractile and intracellular Ca(2+) properties were examined including peak shortening, duration and maximal velocity of shortening/relengthening (TPS/TR(90), +/-dl/dt), Fura-2-fluorescence intensity change (DeltaFFI), and intracellular Ca(2+) decay rate (tau). Expression of the leptin receptor (Ob-R) was evaluated by western blot analysis. High-fat diet increased systolic blood pressure and plasma leptin levels. PS and +/-dl/dt were depressed whereas TPS and TR(90) were prolonged after high-fat diet feeding. Leptin elicited a concentration-dependent (0-1,000 nmol/l) inhibition of PS, +/-dl/dt, and DeltaFFI in low-fat but not high-fat diet-fed rat cardiomyocytes without affecting TPS and TR(90). The Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) inhibitor AG490, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor SB203580, and the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NAME abrogated leptin-induced cardiomyocyte contractile response in low-fat diet group without affecting the high-fat diet group. High-fat diet significantly downregulated cardiac expression of Ob-R. Elevation of extracellular Ca(2+) concentration nullified obesity-induced cardiomyocyte mechanical dysfunction and leptin-induced depression in PS. These data indicate presence of cardiac leptin resistance in diet-induced obesity possibly associated with impaired leptin receptor signaling.