Effects of Estrogen on Cardiovascular Injury in Ovariectomized Female DahlS.Z-Leprfa/Leprfa Rats as a New Animal Model of Metabolic Syndrome
Although recent clinical trials have found an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in women on estrogen replacement therapy, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We have recently characterized DahlS.Z-Leprfa/Leprfa (DS/obese) rats, derived from a cross between Dahl salt-sensitive and Zucker rats, as a new animal model of metabolic syndrome. We have now examined the effects of estrogen replacement on cardiac pathophysiology in ovariectomized female DS/obese (Ovx-DS/obese) rats. Animals subjected to ovariectomy at 7 weeks of age were implanted subcutaneously with a 60-day release pellet containing 0.5 mg of 17β-estradiol (E2) or placebo at 8 weeks. Age-matched female homozygous lean littermates (DahlS.Z-Lepr+/Lepr+ or DS/lean rats) of DS/obese rats served as controls. Animals were maintained on a normal diet and were subjected to echocardiography followed by various pathological analyses at 13 weeks of age. Ovx-DS/obese rats manifested hypertension at 7 weeks of age and thereafter and showed left ventricular (LV) fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction at 13 weeks. Treatment with E2 attenuated hypertension in Ovx-DS/obese rats but had no effect on blood pressure in ovariectomized female DS/lean (Ovx-DS/lean) rats. E2 treatment exacerbated LV fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction, as well as further increased cardiac oxidative stress and inflammation in Ovx-DS/obese rats, and it elicited similar effects in Ovx-DS/lean rats. E2 reduced food intake, body weight, and visceral fat content in both Ovx-DS/obese and Ovx-DS/lean rats. E2 treatment attenuated hypertension and obesity but exacerbated LV fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction in Ovx-DS/obese rats, with these latter effects being associated with increased cardiac oxidative stress and inflammation.
- metabolic syndrome
- myocardial fibrosis
- diastolic dysfunction
- oxidative stress
- Received August 10, 2011.
- Revision received August 29, 2011.
- Accepted December 27, 2011.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.