Insulin replacement limits progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy in the low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a major contributor to the increasing burden of heart failure globally. Effective therapies remain elusive, in part due to the incomplete understanding of the mechanisms underlying diabetes-induced myocardial injury. The objective of this study was to assess the direct impact of insulin replacement on left ventricle structure and function in a rat model of diabetes. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered streptozotocin (55 mg/kg i.v.) or citrate vehicle and were followed for 8 weeks. A subset of diabetic rats were allocated to insulin replacement (6 IU/day insulin s.c.) for the final 4 weeks of the 8-week time period. Diabetes induced the characteristic systemic complications of diabetes (hyperglycaemia, polyuria, kidney hypertrophy) and was accompanied by marked left ventricle remodelling (cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, left ventricle collagen content) and diastolic dysfunction (transmitral E/A, left ventricle-dP/dt). Importantly, these systemic and cardiac impairments were ameliorated markedly following insulin replacement, and moreover, markers of the diabetic cardiomyopathy phenotype were significantly correlated with the extent of hyperglycaemia. In summary, these data suggest that poor glucose control directly contributes towards the underlying features of experimental diabetic cardiomyopathy, at least in the early stages, and that adequate replacement ameliorates this.