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To evaluate the protective effect of thalidomide, a potent anti-inflammatory drug, on the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy (DMCMP).We induced type 1 diabetes using streptozocin in 8-week-old Sprague–Dawley rats, divided them into two groups—a thalidomide treatment group (DM-T, n = 15) and a non-treatment group (DM-N, n = 15)—and compared them with a normal control (n = 10). Ten weeks after diabetes induction, heart and lung mass indices were higher in the DM-N group compared with the control group. In the DM-T group, increases in heart and lung mass indices were attenuated compared with the DM-N group. On echocardiographic examination, systolic and diastolic mitral annulus velocities were impaired in the DM-N group, but they remained normal in the DM-T group. On haemodynamic analyses, left ventricular (LV) systolic function, represented by end-systolic elastance (0.35 ± 0.14 vs. 0.18 ± 0.07 mmHg/μl, P < 0.001) and preload-recruitable stroke work (90.5 ± 24.3 vs. 51.8 ± 22.0 mmHg, P < 0.001), was preserved in the DM-T group compared with the DM-N group. Likewise, deterioration of LV diastolic function was attenuated in the DM-T group. Increases in serum levels of TNF-α were attenuated in the DM-T group compared with the DM-N group. On histological analysis, thalidomide treatment lowered total myocardial collagen content and the expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1.In an animal model of DMCMP, deterioration of LV systolic and diastolic function was partially prevented by thalidomide treatment.