The Effects of Carvedilol on Cardiac Function and the AKT/XIAP Signaling Pathway in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy Rats

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Objectives: Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) is characterized by cardiac dysfunction, myocardial inflammation, interstitial fibrosis and cardiomyocytes apoptosis. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of carvedilol on cardiac function and the AKT/XIAP signaling pathway in DCM rats. Methods: Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: the control group, diabetic mellitus (DM) group and DM with carvedilol treatment group. DM rats were induced by streptozotocin accompanied by high energy intake. Carvedilol was orally administered at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day. After 16 weeks, the interrelated blood data were detected by biochemical analysis. Cardiac function was evaluated by echocardiography and the serum NT-proBNP level. The changes of myocardium ultrastructural and fibrosis were determined by electron microscopy and Masson's staining. Apoptotic cells were examined by TUNEL staining and interrelated proteins were measured by immunohistochemical and Western blots. Results: Rats in the DM group showed significant serum elevation of glucose, cholesterol, triglyceride, NT-proBNP, IL-1β and TNF-α, along with decreased cardiac function. Moreover, in the DM group, the levels of myocardial apoptosis and fibrosis were all increased accompanied by upregulation of caspase-3 and downregulation of phos-AKT and phos-XIAP, whereas carvedilol treatment prevented or reversed all the changes without influencing plasma levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride. Conclusions: The AKT/XIAP signaling pathway may be involved in DCM. Carvedilol can improve cardiac function, possibly not only by upregulating the AKT/XIAP antiapoptotic signaling pathway and subsequently attenuating myocardial fibrosis, but also through suppressing the myocardial inflammation response.

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