Acute MI induces leptin expression in the heart, however the role of myocardial leptin in cardiac ischemia and reperfusion (IR) remains unknown. To shed light on the effects of elevated levels of leptin in the myocardium, we overexpressed cardiac leptin and assessed local remodeling and myocardial function in this context. Methods and results Cardiac leptin overexpression was stimulated in mice undergoing IR by a single intraperitoneal injection of leptin antagonist (LepA). All mice exhibited a normal pattern of body weight gain. A rapid, long-term upregulation of leptin mRNA was demonstrated in the heart, adipose, and liver tissues in IR/LepA-treated mice. Overexpressed cardiac leptin mRNA extended beyond postoperative day (POD) 30. Plasma leptin peaked 7.5 hours postoperatively, especially in IR/LepA-treated mice, subsiding to normal levels by 24 hours. On POD-30 IR/LepA-treated mice demonstrated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and perivascular fibrosis compared to IR/saline controls. Echocardiography on POD-30 demonstrated eccentric hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction in IR/LepA. We recorded reductions in Ejection Fraction (p<0.001), Fraction Shortening (p<0.01), and Endocardial Fraction Area Change (p<0.01), and an increase in Endocardial Area Change (p<0.01). Myocardial remodeling in the context of IR and cardiac leptin overexpression was associated with increased cardiac TGFâ ligand expression, activated Smad2, and downregulation of STAT3 activity. Conclusions Cardiac IR coinciding with increased myocardial leptin synthesis promotes cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and fibrosis and potentiates myocardial dysfunction. Plasma leptin levels do not reflect cardiac leptin synthesis, and may not predict leptin-related cardiovascular morbidity. Targeting cardiac leptin is a potential treatment for cardiac IR damage.
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© 2018 Kain et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.