Document Type


Publication Date




High dietary fat intake is a major risk factor for development of cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunction including obesity, cardiomyopathy and hypertension.


The present study was designed to examine effect of high fat (HF) diet on cardio-vascular structure and function in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), fed HF diet for 15 weeks, a phenotype designed to mimic metabolic syndrome.


Development of metabolic syndrome like phenotype was confirmed using parameters, including body weight, total cholesterol and blood pressure levels. High fat diet impaired vascular relaxation by acetylcholine and exacerbated cardiac dysfunction in SHRs as evidenced by lower left ventricular function, and higher coronary resistance (CR) as compared to controls (p < 0.05). The histological examination revealed significant myocardial and peri-vascular fibrosis in hearts from SHRs on HF diet. This cardiac dysfunction was associated with increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, COX-2, NOX-2, TxB2 expression and increase in superoxide (O2-) levels in SHR fed a HF diet (p < 0.05). HO-1 induction via cobalt-protoporphyrin (CoPP,3 mg/kg), in HF fed rats, not only improved cardiac performance parameters, but also prevented myocardial and perivascular fibrosis. These effects of CoPP were accompanied by enhanced levels of cardiac adiponectin levels, pAMPK, peNOS and iNOS expression; otherwise significantly attenuated (p < 0.05) in HF fed SHRs. Prevention of such beneficial effects of CoPP by the concurrent administration of the HO inhibitor stannic mesoporphyrin (SnMP) corroborates the role of HO system in mediating such effects.


In conclusion, this novel study demonstrates that up-regulation of HO-1 improves cardiac and vascular dysfunction by blunting oxidative stress, COX-2 levels and increasing adiponectin levels in hypertensive rats on HF diet.


The copy of record is available from Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome at

Copyright © 2011 Cao et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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 work is properly cited